Posts Tagged ‘Dick Dale’


… With your majestic and superior cackling hen 
Your people I do not understand, 
So to you I shall put an end 
And you’ll never hear surf music again

–Jimi Hendrix, Third Rock From the Sun


It’s said that that the final line from the spoken word section of Jimi Hendrix’s Third Rock From the Sun in 1967 was a response to hearing that Dick Dale, the King of Surf Guitar, was gravely ill with colon cancer. Well, Dick Dale got past that dangerous episode and continued his reign for another 50+ years, passing away yesterday at the age of 81.

His background hardly pointed to his rise as the King of Surf Guitar. Born in Boston, Dale (the name he adopted for the stage– his real name was Monsour) was of Lebanese descent and was raised playing Middle Eastern instruments which provided the basis for his style of playing. You can really hear it in his most popular song, Misirlou. It was revived with its prominence in the film Pulp Fiction.

Dale had a great run promoting himself as the King of Surf Guitar through the years, even as surf music faded into a its niche as a nostalgic reminder of its popularity in the early 1960’s. But Misirlou had staying power beyond nostalgia. It’s just good stuff that can still get people on their feet.

So, here’s to you Dick Dale. Your music will live on. Here’s a performance of Misirlou from Dick Dale in 1995.


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Faust's GuitarWell, I’m on the road today, heading out to Erie, to see my good friends at the Kada Gallery and to deliver several commission pieces.  It’s always good to hit the road once in a while and clear away the studio cobwebs.  I thought I’d share a little Miserlou from surf guitar god Dick Dale.  Most probably know this piece from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and, while I think his use of music in that film was masterful, there’s something kind of cool in this clip by itself.  Maybe it’s the blonde twisting away in front of them.  Maybe it’s the side to side sway of the Del-Tones, all looking like they just came from a Chamber of Commerce mixer.  I think my dad may have bought insurance from the drummer and I’m pretty sure the bass player is Al Franken.  Maybe it’s just the alliterative power and the dark contrast of Dick Dale himself, picking away at that mesmerizing Middle Eastern melody.  Whatever, give it a look and listen…

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