Dick Dale, "The King of the Surf Guitar," has died at age 83

Dick Dale, whose pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals on songs like “Miserlou” and “Let’s Move Trippin'” earned him the identify King of the Surf Guitar, has died at age 81. His former bassist Sam Bolle stated Dick Dale passed on to the great beyond Saturday night time. No different main points have been to be had.

Dale favored to mention it used to be he and now not the Seaside Boys who invented surf tune — and a few critics have stated he used to be correct.

CBS Los Angeles issues out that Dale had by no means let age sluggish him down — he used to be at the invoice for a display Would possibly 31 in Agoura Hills, California, and July 14 in San Juan Capistrano.

An avid surfer, Dale began construction a faithful Los Angeles fan base within the overdue 1950s with repeated appearances at Newport Seaside’s outdated Rendezvous Ballroom. He performed “Miserlou,” ”The Wedge,” ”Night time Rider” and different compositions at wall-rattling quantity on a personalized Fender Stratocaster guitar.

“Miserlou,” which might develop into his signature track, have been tailored from a Heart Jap folks music Dale heard as a kid and later reworked right into a thundering surf-rock instrumental.

His fingering taste used to be so frenetic that he shredded guitar choices right through songs, one way that compelled him to stash spares on his guitar’s frame. “Higher shred than lifeless,” he favored to shaggy dog story, an expression that finally turned into the identify of a 1997 anthology launched through Rhino Data.

Dick Dale
Dick Dale, referred to as “The King of the Surf Guitar,” noticed Would possibly 27, 2007.


Dale stated he advanced his musical taste when he sought to merge the sounds of the crashing ocean waves he heard whilst browsing with melodies impressed through the rockabilly tune he cherished.

He pounded moderately than plucked the strings of his guitar in a mode he stated he borrowed from an early musical hero, the nice jazz drummer Gene Krupa.

“Dale pioneered a musical style that Seaside Boy Brian Wilson and others would later convey to fruition,” Rolling Stone mag stated in its “Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll” including “Let’s Move Trippin'” used to be launched in 1961, two months forward of the Seaside Boys’ first hit, “Surfin.'”

The mag known as Dale’s track “the harbinger of the ’60s surf tune craze.”

Despite the fact that in style round Southern California, Dale would possibly have remained only a cult determine if browsing had now not exploded in international recognition right through his height ingenious years.

When the primary of a sequence of “Seaside Celebration” films made to money in at the phenomenon used to be launched in 1963, it integrated Dick Dale and the Del-Tones appearing “Secret Browsing Spot” as teenager heartthrob Annette Funicello danced at the seaside.

Dale had launched his first album, “Surfer’s Selection,” a yr previous. He adopted it with 4 extra over the following two years whilst showing in numerous “Seaside Celebration” sequels and different surfer films.

Different in style Dale songs integrated “Jungle Fever,” ”Shake-N-Stomp” and “Swingin’ and Surfin’.”

His famous person dimmed after the Beatles led tune’s British invasion onto the pop charts in 1964 and his document label dropped him. His occupation additionally used to be sidelined through a struggle with most cancers within the 1960s and a major foot an infection within the 1970s that used to be the results of a browsing damage.

His musical affect used to be profound and integrated guitar virtuosos Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan and film director Quentin Tarantino, who decided on Dale’s “Miserlou,” because the theme track of his 1994 movie “Pulp Fiction.” That helped pull the guitarist again into the pop-culture highlight.

Dale himself had begun to release a comeback with the 1987 movie “Again to the Seaside,” which reunited Funicello and her co-star Frankie Avalon as a middle-aged couple returning to their outdated browsing haunts. He teamed up with Vaughan to document the vintage surf instrumental “Pipeline” for that movie, incomes the pair a Grammy nomination.

In 1993 he launched “Tribal Thunder,” his first album of all new subject matter in just about 30 years. He adopted it with “Unknown Territory” the next yr.

Dale persisted to excursion into his 80s, partially he stated to pay the scientific expenses that advancing age used to be saddling him with. Having overwhelmed most cancers within the 1960s, he suffered a major recurrence in 2015.

Born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston on Would possibly four, 1937, Dale moved to Los Angeles along with his circle of relatives in 1954, the place he straight away fell in love with browsing and the electrical guitar. He used to be integrated at the Hollywood Rock Stroll of Popularity in 1996 and used to be given a Lifetime Success Award through LA Weekly in 2000, in keeping with CBS Los Angeles.

As a kid, he listened to Lebanese and Polish folks tunes performed through his oldsters. In the end he graduated to special band, swing, nation and rockabilly.

Dick Dale noticed Would possibly 27, 2007, in New York Town.


Self-taught on guitar, the left-handed Dale could not find the money for a personalized fashion, so early on he performed a regular right-hand guitar the other way up and backward. That ended after a gathering with mythical guitar builder Leo Fender, who introduced to make Dale his personal left-handed fashion if he’d take a look at a line of guitars and amplifiers Fender used to be growing.

“I turned into Leo’s non-public guinea pig,” Dale instructed The Related Press in 1997. “Anything else that got here out of the Fender corporate, I performed.”

He performed so loudly that he blew up one amplifier after every other till a annoyed Fender constructed him a “Dick Dale Twin Showman” doubled-sized amp. It used to be a fashion that may develop into well-liked by aspiring Los Angeles guitarists.

As he started to develop into widely known, he started calling himself Dick Dale, explaining years later radio disc jockey had urged it used to be a greater identify for a rock famous person than Richard Monsour.

His surfer pals had already nicknamed him King of the Surf Guitar, a identify he stated he to start with resisted, fearing it could restrict his target audience. When the spirit of browsing stuck on all over the place, on the other hand, he got here to embody the crown.

Dale is survived through his spouse, Lana, and a son, James, a drummer who on occasion toured along with his father.

Editor’s Word: This tale has been corrected to mention that Dick Dale died at age 81.

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