Dick Dale, known as the “King of The Surf Guitar,” passed away last night at the age of 81. Dale’s bassist Sam Bolle confirmed the news to The Guardian. He had been suffering health issues for years, including rectal cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, and damaged vertebrae.
Dale, real name Richard Anthony Monsour, was a surf guitar pioneer. He was born in 1937 in Boston to a Polish mother and Lebanese father. He began surfing and playing guitar in the late ’50s. In 1961, Dale released “Let’s Go Trippin’,” which is often regarded as the first surf rock song.
He created the signature surf rock sound by working with Middle Eastern music scales. His classic song “Misirlou” gained wider attention when it was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction. Dale also co-developed the first 100-watt amplifier with Leo Fender.