Dick Dale, Legendary Surf Rock Legend, Dead At 81

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Dick Dale, famously known as “The King of Surf Guitar,” passed away on March 16 at the age of 81. Sam Bolle, Dale’s former live bassist, recently confirmed Dale’s passing, according to TMZ. Dale contributed a litany of songs to the legendary surf rock era. Dale also often stated that he was responsible for the creation of surf music, although many people believed the Beach Boys invented the genre. However, many music critics have agreed with Dale since he started taking credit for founding the musical genre.

“He was an original, he always did things the way he wanted to do them… his own way. Long before punk rock, he was doing that,” Bolle said, according to TMZ.

Dale became known for his loud, gripping power-chord instrumentals, which one can hear in songs like “Miserlou” and “Let’s Go Trippin.” Dale’s contributions to the surf rock genre started in the late 1950s and gained popularity the following decade worldwide because of the Beach Boys’ music. Dale created a bevy of solo albums, and also performed with the Del-Tones.

When Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, heard about Dale’s passing, Wilson sent his respect to Dale’s loved ones.

“I’m sorry to hear about Dick Dale passing. Dick’s guitar playing was a big influence on all of us, and we covered ‘Misirlou’ on our Surfin’ USA album in ’63. Love & Mercy to Dick’s family,” Wilson tweeted on Sunday, according to TMZ.

Dale enjoyed surfing throughout his lifetime and managed to combine his love for surfing with his love for music starting in the 1950s. Dale attracted several fans in Los Angeles via his repeated performances at Newport Beach’s Rendezvous Ballroom. As Dale’s popularity grew, he became well-known for playing his custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar loudly. Dale’s most popular song was “Miserlou,” a composition he took from a Middle Eastern folk song that he adapted into a surf rock musical.

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Those that saw Dale perform often remarked on his frenetic guitar fingering, which was so powerful that Dale often destroyed his guitar picks while playing. He started carrying spares with him that he could find easily while he was still performing.

Better shred then dead,” Dale often said, according to USA Today.

Dale wasn’t just a talented musician, however. He also did a variety of acting while he was alive. Dale made appearances on both television shows and movies. Dale usually played himself when he made these special appearances. Some of the shows that Dale appeared on included An American Vampire Story, Muscle Beach Party, Let’s Make Love, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Aloha, Scooby-Doo!