Dick Dale, the ‘king of the surf guitar’ has passed away at the age of 81, according to reports. Perhaps best known for Misirlou, the song featured on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed Pulp Fiction in 1994, Dale was a trailblazer in the surf-guitar genre and a Fender signature artist.
Born Richard Anthony Monsour on 4 May 1937, Dale was known for his use of Middle Eastern scales and reverb, not to mention the sheer speed and energy of his playing – these would prove to be a huge influence on later generations of guitarists. The left-handed star also worked closely with Leo Fender on amplifier designs as his uniquely aggressive style tested the limits of the company’s amp circuits and speakers.
Though he had been suffering from health issues for many years, Dale performed live right up to the end of his life and was due to take to the stage again in May.
When asked why he wouldn’t retire, Dale told California Rocker, “Well, there are two reasons I don’t retire: playing music keeps me alive, and my music helps others.”