Brian Carman, who as a high school student in the early 1960s helped write the instrumental surf-rock hit “Pipeline” for his band, the Chantays, died on Sunday at his home in Santa Ana, Calif. He was 69.
The cause was complications of Crohn’s disease, his wife, Sunida Carman, said.
Inspired by a local band called the Rhythm Rockers, Mr. Carman and four classmates at Santa Ana High School formed the Chantays in the early ’60s. He and his bandmate Bob Pickard wrote “Pipeline” after school one day.
“Pipeline” begins with a series of plummeting bass notes then continues with a catchy guitar riff over propulsive keyboard, bass and drums. It crested at No. 4 on the Billboard Pop Chart in 1963, exemplifying the surf-rock instrumental sound that the Surfaris also helped popularize with their hit “Wipe Out.”
The Chantays released an album that year, titling it “Pipeline,” and in a departure from his more traditional acts, Lawrence Welk invited the band to play “Pipeline” on his television show.
“Pipeline” has been covered by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pat Metheny and the group Anthrax, among other artists, and has been heard in movies and on television, including on “The Sopranos.”
The Chantays continued playing together until a few years ago. They released two albums in the 1990s.
Brian Craig Carman was born on Aug. 10, 1945, and grew up in Santa Ana. His first wife, Katie Anderson, died in 2002. He married Sunida in 2007.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a brother, Steve, who played saxophone and sang for the Rhythm Rockers; a son from his first marriage, Brett; and three grandchildren.
Even though the Chantays were linked to surfing, his family said Mr. Carman was not an avid surfer.