Dick Dale, the surf guitar king who’s known for keeping it rolling has died at age 81. He had recently been in treatment for cancer, from which he had previously recovered twice. He died on Saturday night, according to The Guardian.
His longtime bassist, Sam Bolle, has confirmed the news. No cause of death was immediately reported.
Dale is known for creating a style of music heavily associated with surf culture, often referred to as surf rock. His unique musical vibe and staccato technique has left an impression among the music industry.
Dick Dale’s Influence and Legacy
Dale is best known for his 1962 hit “Misilou.” In history, it is a traditional song in Eastern Mediterranean regions, but Dale brought it to the Western pop culture light. The Middle Eastern and Mexican influences added a new layer of flavor to the 1950’s instrumental rock that he was pioneering.
Several other versions have since been recorded, such as from the Beach Boys, the Ventures, Consider the Source, and the Trashmen, as well as international orchestral easy listening versions.
It gained most of its notoriety when it was prominently featured in Quentin Tarantino’s cult hit “Pulp Fiction.”
Listen to the song here!
Dale has self-released multiple records with his band the Deltones, and it paved the way for countless of others who followed in the footsteps of the Southern California surfer way.
Dale was a close friend of Leo Fender, the inventor of the Stratocaster – the instrument that helped revolutionize rock guitar. Together, they invented the first 100-watt amplifier to handle the input that Dale was producing with his music.
Guitar Player magazine dubbed Dale as not only the King of Surf Guitar but also the father of heavy metal. And, even to his death, he had been one of the most glaring omissions from the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.