The Trashmen’s classic “Surfin’ Bird” made #3 on the British charts in December 2010, a mere forty-seven years after its original release.
How can this be? Sundazed Records, current home of the Bird, explains:
This holiday season, a cadre of British rock ‘n’ roll fanatics represented by a Facebook group that boasts over 620,000 members has mounted an audacious campaign that has already pushed the song to the Number Three spot on the U.K. charts, alongside the likes of the Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna. The effort, originally launched by “Birdman Jack,” has achieved this unprecedented feat by encouraging its members to purchase the song.
In a recent statement, the group explained that the campaign represents a concerted effort to strike a blow for real music, and to wrest the U.K. chart spotlight back from the domination of lightweight manufactured pop, as exemplified by Simon Cowell’s wildly successful TV show X Factor. “Our mission,” the group explains, “is to continue the success of last year’s ‘Rage Against The Machine’ Facebook campaign, which snatched the Christmas Number One spot from X Factor. The reason behind this campaign is to further prevent the domination of manufactured music, and to allow something truly great to take the limelight. We are quickly closing the gap on the Number One spot, and we won’t stop until everybody knows that the bird is the word!”
The X Factor entry, Matt Cardle’s “When We Collide,” has one thing going for it: it’s genuinely terrible. Unfortunately, the UK is even more efficient than the US at putting horrible godawful stuff at the top of the charts.
Still, as James Lileks says: Fear the army that plays “Surfin’ Bird.”
(Play it yourself here.)