Track: “Sidewalk Surfin’ ” 1964 by Jan & Dean
Reasons to watch: “Don’t be afraid to try the newest sport around” sing the collegiate-looking duo. This song, appropriately written by Brian Wilson with Roger Christian, puts new lyrics to the Beach Boys’ tune, “Catch a Wave”.
Track: “Freedom of Choice” 1980 by Devo
Reasons to watch: While the song’s political message, “Use your freedom of choice,” remains potent, especially in this election year, skate aficionados will be drawn to the retro appeal of the cameos of top skaters including Duane Peters, Tony Alva, Steve Olson, and Stacy Peralta.
Track: “Possessed to Skate” 1987 by Suicidal Tendencies
Reason to watch: If Timothy Leary in a tropical print admonishing his “son”, “No skateboarding until you’ve done your homework”, isn’t trippy enough, the pool action, allegedly by members of the Bones Brigade, and skate punk attitude are pretty over the top. The song, originally written for a now-forgotten movie, is sung by Mike Muir, whose brother, Jim, is an original member of the Z-Boys.
Track: “100%” 1992 by Sonic Youth
Reasons to watch: Over time this video, which alternates between performance/house party scenes filmed by Tamra Davis and Spike Jonze’s “cinéma vérité” skating clips, allegedly filmed while he was on a board himself, has accumulated added interest as the players in it have become famous. (This was one of Jonze’s first foray into music videos). It’s been reported that Sonic Youth decided to work with Jonze—who met his future wife, Sofia Coppola, on set – after legendary skateboarder Mark Gonzales gave Kim Gordon a copy of the fledgling director’s early skate film, 1991’s Video Days, for Blind Skateboards.
Track: “Kick, Push” 2006 by Lupe Fiasco
Reasons to watch: Does this video, from Fiasco’s Grammy-nominated Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor album, celebrate or capitalize on skate culture? Industry approved, it was once up for BET’s Hip-Hop Video of the Year, but caused a controversy within the skate community.
Track: “West Coast” 2007 by Coconut Records
Reason to watch: Retro allure. The video reuses parts—from filmmaker Cheryl Dunn’s film Back Worlds for Words, minus the sound—of a 1998 performance piece described as “a skateboard ballet,” conceived of by artist Johannes Wohnseifer, and skated/acted by Mark Gonzales dressed in fencing gear emblazoned with his initials and the word “Aloha” in the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg in Germany.
Track: “Any Fun” 2009 by Coconut Records
Reasons to watch: Chloë Sevigny, Jason Schwartzman, Alex Olson, etc., shot in Super 8, directed by William Strobeck and Mark Gonzales.
Track: “Rap N’ Skate” 2013 by Black Dave
Reason to watch: A member of Zoo York’s team who has skated and worked for Supreme, Bronx-born Dave Willis, aka Black Dave/Black Bart Simpson, believes “the whole city is a skate spot,” and proves it in a video with an old-school, and very NYC, vibe.
Track: “Loud Places” 2015 by Jamie xx with Romy
Reasons to watch: The allure of London-town at night and the rare sight of bandmates Jamie Smith and Romy Madley Croft shredding together. “We grew up skating together—we were actually skating before we did music together—so it was this important part of our relationship that nobody really knew about,” Smith has said.
Track: “Dark Necessities” 2016 by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Reasons to watch: The Chili Peppers have long been aligned with Cali skate culture, appearing in the 1986 film Thrashin’, and playing live at 1987’s Vision Skate Escape. It’s an association that keeps on rolling, as evidenced by the appearance of longboarders Carmen Shafer, Amanda Caloia, Amanda Powell, and Noelle Mulligan.