Richard Delvy

The drummer for California's first surf band, the Bel-Airs, Richard Delvy (born Richard Delvecchio) went on to lead a similar group, the Challengers, after the group's breakup in 1961. Formed with ex-Bel-Air keyboardist Jim Roberts, the Challengers brought the surf music craze to a new height, selling more than a quarter of a million copies of their debut album, Surfing Around the World, in 1963. Delvy and the Challengers' greatest success, however, was credited to the Surfaris, a band that Delvy had heard performing its signature tune, "Wipe Out," and had been so impressed that he secured rights to the song's release. Initially released on Delvy's own label, Princess, the single, with "Surfer Joe" on the B-side, was picked up for national distribution by Dot. When an album was subsequently recorded, Dot used the Challengers on every track but "Wipe Out" and "Surfer Joe," resulting in the Surfaris severing its contract with the label. Although Delvy briefly resurfaced in 1963 when he recorded the album Hot Rod City with future Brian Wilson songwriting partner Gary Usher, it marked his last hurrah as a musician. He later produced several late-'60s albums for psychedelic-soul band the Chambers Brothers. ~ Craig Harris

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