Los Angeles Almanac Logo
Home | All Almanac Topics | Arts

L.A. Video:

L.A. Videos

"26 Miles (Santa Catalina)" by The Four Preps
26 Miles - Santa Catalina

"26 Miles (Santa Catalina)" was a popular 1958 song by The Four Preps. It hit number two on the Billboard Hot 100, selling more than one million copies. The memorable last line in the refrain was “Santa Catalina, the island of romance, Romance, romance, romance.” Dick Clark later called the song “the first surfer hit.”

The Four Preps were four teenage boys at Hollywood High School when they were discovered at a school talent show and signed by Columbia Records. Bruce Belland, lead singer of the group, recounted that he had dreams of visiting the island when younger, but his inspiration came while bodysurfing at Will Rogers State Beach and a friend stated that Santa Catalina Island could be seen 26 miles across the ocean (its actually 38.5 miles from that particular beach, but 21 miles from San Pedro). Fellow singer Glen A. Larson (later a TV producer of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Knight Rider”) shares the credit for the lyrics. Among artists said to have been inspired by the song were Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett.