Surfside (J Devlin) – The Denvermen1963

The Denvermen were a Sydney band who rose from the ashes of Paul Dever and the  Denvermen and Digger Revell and the Lonely Ones to combine a successful period in the early 60’s as Digger Revell’s backing band, and instrumental recording artists with their own hits, often appearing on Johnny O’Keefe’s Six O’Clock Rock.


The original lineup comprised Digger Revell (vocals), Les Green (guitar), Tex Ihasz (guitar), Alan Crowe (bass), Phil Bower (drums) and Peter Burbridge (sax), they took their musical cues from Hank Marvin and the Shadows and Duane Eddy and were discovered by Johnny Devlin when preforming at the Teenage Nightclub in Sydney in 1962.

The Denvermen acquired Fender Stratocaster guitars and a Klempf Echolette portable tape-delay echo machine to achieve the same distinctive echo and reverb effects as the Shadows and their local competitors the Atlantics. Two early original instrumental releases on EMI, The Mexican and Outback, failed to chart, but Les Green and Johnny Devlin were about to deliver their debut hit, and the first local chart success of the surf rock genre. santo and johnny

The Johnny Devlin- produced Surfside, was inspired by Santo and Johnny’s somnolent 1959 hit instrumental Sleepwalk, it climbed to #17 in January, with lead guitar Les Green delivering haunting Lonely Surfer-style riffs accompanied by rolling surf sound special effects.Surf

The Denvermen aspired to a more laid-back Shadows-style than the high voltage surf music of the Atlantics, who more closely reflected the US west coast style of Dick Dale and the Del-Tones.

Surfside would have another lease of life when the melody was appropriated by baritone crooner Darryl Stewart and lyrics added, to become I Watch The Surf in 1963.

Darryl Stewart

The band followed up with Night Rider for a #37 hit and rounded out 1963 with a lively tribute to the newest dance craze sweeping Sydney, Avalon Stomp was a national #25 hit in August and their last top 30 instrumental hit.


The band would continue to record with Digger Revell on lead vocals and had top 40 success with My Little Rocker’s Turned Surfie in 1964, and remakes of two Platters hits, My Prayer in 1965 and a top 20 hit with their cover of Twilight Time.


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