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Music On Monday #13 … California Sun

HEY, It’s September… Already?! It’s the month I used to dread when I lived in a colder climate. September would signal the end of summer vacation, a return to school, chilly nights, leaves starting to fall, and a whiff of autumn on the breeze. But here in California the summer lingers on and on… To celebrate September, I send a little sunshine your way. Bet you already know this song…



Well, I’m goin’ out west where I belong
Where the days are short and the nights are long
Where they walk and I’ll walk
They twist and I’ll twist
They shimmy and I’ll shimmy
They fly and I’ll fly
Well they’re out there a’havin’ fun
In that warm California sun.

Well, I’m goin’ out west out on the coast
Where the California girls are really the most
Where they walk and I’ll walk
They twist and I’ll twist
They shimmy and I’ll shimmy
They fly and I’ll fly
Well they’re out there a’havin’ fun
In that warm California sun.

Well the girls are frisky in old ‘Frisco
A pretty little chick wherever you go
A-a-and they’ll walk and I’ll walk
They’ll twist and I’ll twist
They’ll shimmy and I’ll shimmy
They’ll fly and I’ll fly
Well they’re out there a’havin’ fun
In that warm California sun

Yeah they’re out there a’havin’ fun
In that warm California sun

•  •  •

California Sun is credited to Henry Glover and Morris Levy. Originally recorded by the New Orleans-born singer-songwriter Joe Jones, and released by Roulette Records in the winter of 1961, it peaked at #89 on the charts.

COVER VERSIONS … some of the many:

  • Annette Funicello covered it in 1963. The lyrics were changed to reference “boys”.
  • The Ramones’ cover was also used in Jackass: The Movie, while the Rivieras’ version was used in Oliver Stone’s The Doors film, when Jim Morrison (played by Val Kilmer) arrives in Venice Beach.
  • A rocking version of the classic California Sun appears on Dick Dale‘s 1994 album “Unknown Territory”.  It was released in the same year that the use of his music in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction began the Dick Dale comeback overnight…

    I saw Dick Dale perform in a seedy bar in Concord, California a few years ago. We had to wait through 3 long, bad opening acts until we heard the unmistakable, haunting guitar riffs from the king of the surf guitar suddenly coming to life from somewhere backstage. We could feel electricity in the air! As the excitement built, he slowly swaggered onto the stage still wailing on his guitar. Ooh… Chills remembering it. The guy’s brilliant! After the show he sat on the edge of the stage for as long as it took to greet & chat with a long line of fans. Of course I was one of them. His CD’s were for sale at the venue and I bought one of each and had him autograph them. I took some photos, analog style. Hmm… where the hell are they? One was a particularly cool image of a large, well-used music case with “Twenty-Nine Palms” stenciled in white against its black background. (Dick Dale is from Twenty-Nine Palms, California). I’ll have to go in search of the photos and post them under my “More Music” category. It’s SO much easier to keep track of digital images…
    Anyway, here’s a video clip of Dick Dale performing a medley of Pipeline and California Sun in a setting that reminds me of where he played in Concord and around the same time. It was filmed at Joey Harrison’s Surf Club in Ortley Beach, NY on May 29, 2007 (at age 70!) The sound isn’t very good in this, but this is such a rare treat.
    I LOVE anything the brilliant Dick Dale does. If you get a chance to see him, don’t pass it up!

The Legendary Dick Dale


Another one of my fave “California Sun” videos? THE RAMONES of course!

PHOTO-TheRamones1975CBGBsTHE RAMONES: Back where it all started. NYC 1975.
Photo by Bob Gruen.

•  •  •

To see all Music On Monday articles …
Choose the MUSIC MENU >  Music on Monday
(and while you’re there you can check out the categories “More Music” & “33 1/3 rpm”)

 All images, video and information are from sources on the internet.
Featured image with palm trees is from:
Photo of The Ramones in front of CBGB’s nightclub in NYC is by Bob Gruen.

This article is just for fun! The writer assumes no liability and is not responsible for errors or omissions.
No copyright infringement is intended.

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