The American guitarist Dick Dale, the pioneer of surf rock, died on Saturday night at the age of 81. The musician was best known for the hit ‘Misirlou’ from 1962. Dale’s live bass player, Sam Bolle, confirmed the news to The Guardian.

Dick Dale was born in May 1937 as Richard Anthony Monsour. His father was Lebanese and his mother Polish. In his music you can hear the influences from the Middle East. Dale developed a distinct exotic sound that was especially popular with surf music. 

He was one of the first guitarists to introduce the use of reverb effects, which give the guitar a ‘wet sound’. In addition, the rapid staccato method of playing the guitar became his trademark.

‘Misirlou’ became a national hit when he played the song on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1962. In 1994 it became popular again after director Quentin Tarantino used the song as opening music for the cult film Pulp Fiction.


Dale once claimed that Frank Sinatra had suggested him to be his manager. However, he would not have accepted the proposal because the singer wanted 90 percent of his income.

Dick Dale was one of the most influential guitarists of the 60s.