“Surfer’s Stomp” by The Mar-Kets
Artist Biography by Richie Unterberger
The Marketts are sometimes classified as a surf group because of their hit instrumental “Out of Limits,” one of the last big surf singles, which made number three in early 1964. In reality, they were something of an all-purpose contemporary instrumental group with elements of surf, rock, pop, and even easy listening. And they were not really a group, but a fluid collection of Los Angeles session musicians, working under the direction of producer Joe Saraceno.
Saraceno was the principal man behind the concept of The Marketts, although he himself did not play or arrange anything on their records, or even write all of the material. He was sharp enough to latch onto the surf craze in 1962 for one of the earliest instrumental surf hits, “Surfer’s Stomp,” which made the Top 40 on Liberty in 1962. While working at Liberty, he also produced the Ventures for a time, and the influence of the Ventures’ cleanly picked guitar lines is very evident on “Out of Limits” and some other Marketts tracks. With their blend of surfy guitar leads, film soundtrack horns, and spooky organ, The Marketts’ sound is best described not as surf, but as rock-influenced instrumental pop with a futuristic (by early-’60s standards) touch. Many of their songs seemed to be doing their best to evoke space travel and science fiction flicks, sometimes with the help of what sounds like a theremin. They could be said to have filled the void between surf music and space age pop, which is not a criticism; their music is not terribly substantial, but it is fun, and has a pretty good groove.
After “Out of Limits,” The Marketts would enter the Top 20 one more time with the “Batman Theme” in early 1966, and release records as late as 1977. Saraceno, in addition to his work with The Marketts and the Ventures, would also produce Bobby Vee, the Sunshine Company, Martin Denny, and many other acts.