Olive Through the Ages

Olive residents: Memories

Citizens and their homes | Biographies | Memories

When surf music came to Olive
- by Gordon T. McClelland

In the early 1960s, our family moved into a newly-built tract house near the corner of Fletcher and Glassell. Our official address listed us as living in the city of Orange, but all the local kids and old-timers told me we actually lived in what was known as Olive. I liked that name and spent much time roaming around and playing in the old town of Olive. Then, and since then, I have always chosen to say we grew up in Olive, California.

From my bedroom window, I could see large, eucalyptus trees that protected the orange groves from wind. It smelled so good when the orange trees blossomed, and in the winter, the snow- capped mountains were in clear view. For me, it was a really exciting and magical place to live.

My older sister and her girlfriend frequently listened to music, especially instrumental surf music which was popular at that time. I listened to that music, too, and just about wore out those records, having played them so many times. Then one day, pretty sure it was in 1964, my sister told me there was going to be a dance with a live band in the Olive area at Abrams Town and Country Hall on Orange-Olive Road, about half-way between Taft and Fletcher.

Dad and Mom would only let my sister attend if I went along as a chaperone. Well, that was sort of a joke to us, but it was my good fortune, as it meant I would get to go to the dance too.

When we arrived, the place was filled with teenage kids, and the band was just getting ready to play. There were soft drinks and chips around on tables. Everyone sort of dressed up in those days. Boys wore nice slacks, hard shoes and dress shirts, and girls wore fancy dresses and spent a lot of time fixing their hair-dos.

I made my way up to the front of the stage and saw written on the drum head: "The Nocturnes." When they began to play, it was very loud, and to my delight they were a surf music band that focused on high-energy instrumentals, which were my favorite. Pretty much everyone danced and had a good time. It was awkward for me, as I was younger than most everyone else, but I was able to find a few girls to dance with.

We went to other places to hear different surf bands after that time, but that first night of hearing The Nocturnes play at the Abrams Town and Country Hall was the first time I listened to live surf music, and has remained vivid in my memory.

The Nocturnes



Olive memories


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