Y&T’s “Summertime Girls” highlights this surf, sand & sun-inspired “Take Off To the Beach”

By on August 22, 2018

We’ve been sweatin’ our balls off this summer, and the heat doesn’t look like it’s going to be letting up any time soon, so we thought cool down and “Take Off to the Beach” again by watching surf, sand & sun-inspired music videos like Y&T‘s “Summertime Girls,” which was shot in Venice Beach, California in the summer of 1985.

You can see this episode — which originally aired on August 8, 1986, and also features videos by the the Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, David Lee Roth, Joe “King” Carrasco, Elton John, and others — on Night Flight Plus.

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“Summertime Girls” continues to be a song you’re going to hear in movies and on TV shows, especially during scenes where bikini-clad girls are seen frolicking on the beach, roller-skating down the Venice Beach boardwalk, or playing a game of volleyball, all of which you’ll see here, although you’ll also see Y&T’s robot, which they affectionately named “Rock,” as well as some mean-looking models wearing black lingerie and leather and pouring on Valvoline as sunscreen.

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According to longtime lead singer/guitarist Dave Meniketti — who wrote the song in about three hours time with rhythm guitarist Joey Alves — “Summertime Girls” was a double-edged sword,” mainly because he thought his band were a lot more “rock.”

The video was directed by Richard “Rick” Friedberg, who also lensed memorable videos like Van Halen‘s “Hot for Teacher,” and W.A.S.P.‘s “Blind in Texas” and “Wild Child.”

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Friedberg has apparently written about the making of Y&T’s video in his book How to Make It in Hollywood: The Inside Story, which you can probably special order at your favorite neighborhood bookstore, if one actually still exists.

These days, Friedberg continues to deplete his creative brain cells by working on TV shows like “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” and “CSI: Miami,” although he’s probably still best known as a top commercial director, his work typically seen during the Super Bowl, the World Series, and NBA playoffs.

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Read more about Y&T below.

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The hard rockin’ party band Yesterday & Today were co-founded by vocalist/guitarist Dave Meniketti and drummer Leonard Haze in Hayward, California, a prosperous bedroom community and college town in San Francisco’s East Bay.

Civic officials will tell you Hayward is known locally as “the Heart of the Bay,” but that’s because they get paid to say such things.

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The band — also featuring Bob Gardner (bass), Wayne Stitzer (piano) at the time –originally jammed on covers, inspired by sludgy British heavy metal bands as well as American arena rockers.

It was Haze who came up with their name in 1973 after a club promoter called, hoping to book them because they’d just won a local “battle of the bands.”  Haze happened to be listening to the BeatlesYesterday and Today album at the time and gave that as their name.

Eventually Stitzer split, Gardner switched from bass to rhythm guitar/piano, and Phil Kennemore joined on bass/vocals. Their lineup solidified after Gardner left the group in 1984, and Joey Alves joined on rhythm guitar/backing vocals. He’d been in a band called Crutch, the runner-up in that aforementioned “battle of the bands.”

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Yesterday and Today signed with the UK label London Records, originally the British division of Decca Records, distributor of the Rolling Stones‘ earliest ABKCO-era albums. Their biggest American rock act at the time was ZZ Top.

They released their self-titled debut album in the winter of ’76, and opened for KISS, Boston, Montrose, AC/DC, Queen, Blue Öyster Cult and Aerosmith, among others.

In 1978, London issued their second album, Struck Down, but then the label was gobbled up by the Polygram company and lots of bands were dropped in the process, including our party boys from Hayward.

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In 1980, A&M Records thought the band showed enough commercial promise that they were offered a new recording contact, hoping they could be persuaded to write more radio-friendly songs.

By then, they’d already streamlined their name to Y&T, which is what their fans chanted when they wanted an encore: “Y&T! Y&T! Y&T!”

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Y&T: Joey Alves, Leonard Haze, Dave Meniketti, Phil Kennemore

Y&T released six studio albums on A&M: Earthshaker (1981), Black Tiger (1982), Mean Streak (1983), In Rock We Trust (1984), Open Fire (1985), and Down For the Count (1985).

During this same period, they opened for AC/DC, Sammy Hagar, Ozzy Osbourne, Twisted Sister, Dokken and Rush, among others.

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Y&T finally struck gold with “Summertime Girls,” which topped MTV’s video playlists, and the track still gets regular airplay today on classic rock-formatted FM radio.

“Summertime Girls” was initially included as a bonus track on the band’s 1985 live album, Open Fire, but after it became Y&T’s highest-ever charting single — #55 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #17 on the US mainstream rock charts — it was added to Down For the Count, released on October 21, 1985.

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Y&T continued opening for bands like Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, and Ratt, eventually signing a new record deal with Geffen Records.

To date, they’ve sold over four million albums.

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Co-founder Leonard Haze left the band in ’86 (he died in 2016), followed by Joey Alves in ’89 (he died in 2017). Phil Kennemore died in 2011.

Today, Dave Meniketti — who was interviewed for Inside Metal: The Pioneers of L.A. Hard Rock and Metal, and Inside Metal: The L.A. Metal Scene Explodes! — continues to carry the Y&T torch and tries to keep the band’s storied legacy alive — often saying things like Y&T “set the standard for hard rock bands that trailed.”

Watch Night Flight’s 1986 “Take Off to the Beach” and other “Take Off” episodes over on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.