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The Challengers

An American band.

The Challengers were an instrumental surf music band started in late 1962.

They were located in Los Angeles. They represented a growing love for surf music and helped make the genre popular.

Their debut album "Surfbeat" was the biggest selling surf album of all time and helped bring surf music from California to the rest of the world.

The band was formed out of the pioneer surf band called The Bel-Airs.

The Bel-Airs were still in high school at the time, but scored a hit with an instrumental song titled "Mr. Moto."

Their potential was cited by many, but it was an argument about use of the then new Fender reverb unit that led to their breakup.

The Bel-Airs were originally formed by two guitarists, Eddie Bertrand and Paul Johnson, both 16 years old at the time they recorded "Mr. Moto".

In early 1963, Eddie Bertrand heard Dick Dale using the Fender reverb unit and wanted to start incorporating heavy reverb into The Bel-Airs songs.

He felt reverb was the sound that would come to define surf music.

Even at 17, Johnson was something of a independent thinker and told Bertrand that The Bel-Airs had done quite well without reverb and he didn't see any reason at all to begin using it.

The argument escalated until Bertrand finally left the band which then broke up for good shortly after. Johnson confirmed this story in the liner notes he contributed to The Bel-Airs reunion album released in 1986.

During their peak years, from late 1960 to Summer 1963, The Bel-Airs had two drummers who played gigs with the band alternately, original Mouseketeer, Dick Dodd (Eddie & the Showmen and The Standells) and a local school friend named Richard Delvy.

Delvy saw value in publishing, promoting and recording and began a career of managing and producing surf music. He then ultimately recorded numerous Southern California bands in the latter part of the 1960s. Since the 60's Delvy has produced many different musical artists and has made music management his lifelong passion.

The year before The Bel-Airs breakup, Richard Delvy left The Bel-Airs to form a new band called The Challengers.

Delvy then recruited:

Randy Nauert (bass guitar)
Glenn Grey (lead guitar)
Don Landis (rhythm guitar)
Nick Hefner (saxophone)

The Challengers moved on and continued to record albums. During the recording of their third album "On The Move", Hefner, Grey, Roberts and Landis all left the band. Richard Delvy and Randy Nauert remained.

The group continued their successful career, recording several albums a year, shocking by today's "one album every two years" pattern. They also had their own TV show called "Surf's Up" hosted by Stan Richards in '65-66 and appeared frequently on another dance show called "Hollywood A Go-Go" hosted by Sam Riddle in '65-66.

In the mid to late 1960's, as music changed, so did The Challengers. They began recording more pop-oriented music.

The Challengers were seen in a few of 1980s surf band reunion concerts.

In 1995, after 25 years of no new recordings, The Challengers reunited with some new members to release the album "New Wave" produced by band leader and founder Richard Delvy.

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