Vintage Rock Instrumentals: #18 "Baja" The Astronauts (1963)
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
May 10, 2017 8:51am CST
This prime example of surf music was composed by Lee Hazelwood who would achieve later fame for writing “These Boots Were Made for Walking” for Nancy Sinatra. The Astronauts began as the Stormtroopers and were nowhere near the Pacific. They were founded by Boulder, Colorado high school kids Jon “Storm” Patterson (vocals, lead guitar), Bob Demmon (guitar) and Brad Leach (drums). Two more members were added in 1961 and name changed to the Astronauts in tribute to Scott Carpenter. Their only hit “Baja” only charted at Billboard #94 and album “Surfin’ with the Astronauts” #61. But their reverb guitar sound was good enough to get them into the movies “Wild on the Beach,” Surf Party” and “Wild Wild Winter.” The band was extremely popular in Japan rivaling the Beach Boys and Ventures. The Astronauts were through by 1968.
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