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Dick Dale, surf rock icon, RIP

Dick Dale @ Brooklyn Bowl, 2013 (more by Deneka Peniston)

Musician Dick Dale, who widely credited with creating the surf rock sound, has died at age 81. The sad news was confirmed by The Guardian with Dale’s bassist, Sam Bolle.

Born Richard Anthony Mansour, the Middle Eastern and Eastern European music of his heritage helped inspire Dale’s sound, with not just with his guitar and reverby style but also the drumming style of his early records, like “Misirlou” which was his take on the traditional Middle Eastern folk song. Dale’s 1962 single “Let’s Go Trippin'” is generally regarded as the first surf rock instrumental.

Dale was also an accomplished saxophonist, and he worked with Fender to develop better, louder guitar amplifiers. He retired in the ’70s, started playing again in the ’80s and Dale’s career was revived in 1994 when Quentin Tarantino memorably used “Misirlou” in the opening credits of Pulp Fiction.

For the last few years Dale stayed on the road so that he could pay his medical bills from treatment of cancer, diabetes and other health problems. “I’ve also got to realize I’ve been kept alive for a reason,” Dale told Billboard in 2016. “People are not only coming to a concert, they’re coming to a way of life… where we’re willing to share what our lives are all about and how we make fun of [health issues]. It’s not ‘Oh, I’m suffering down here and you’re having a good time up there.’ I can tell ‘em how much goddam pain I’m going through ‘up there.’ I let them know: I’ve got the same crap you’ve got.”

Your music lives on. Rest in peace, Dick.

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