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Dick Dale

California. The Beach Boys praised it. Jan and Dean endorsed it. It was THE place to be. But the man who tapped the true Californian soul, unlike the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean, who were natives, was born on the east coast, Boston to be precise.

Dick Dale's family moved to the Promised Land when he was but a child. He played a number of instruments (piano, harmonica and trumpet) before picking up a guitar. But when he did he'd found his calling.

In the early '60s, Surf Music was big and so were instrumental groups. But most were tossed into the backwash because they lacked Dale's vision. He wanted the guitar to sound like the ocean - powerful, wild and thunderous. He was also keyed into the ocean's rhythm.

Minor chords and ominous riffs were at the core of his sound. Dick Dale and the Del-Tones helped lay the groundwork for the transformation of Rock n' Roll into Rock. Dale's early '60s guitar playing was just a fuzz box away from Acid Rock and Heavy Metal.

When The Beatles and the British invasion hit, Surf Music was washed up. Dale suffered from severe health problems (the big "C") in the mid-60s that nearly beached him for good. There was no chance he'd live. And yet he did.

Dale continued to show up here and there and even managed to do some recording. He did a duet with Stevie Ray Vaughan on "Pipeline" for the "Back To The Beach" soundtrack. Dale also played with the Penetrators, a punk group.

Dale passed away in '19 at age 81. While he had numerous instrumental hits in the early 1960's, he was likely best remembered for "Miserlou," which was featured in the opening sequence of the Quentin Tarantino-directed crime thriller "Pulp Fiction."
Dick Dale Discography


1962 Surfers' Choice
1963 King Of The Surf Guitar
1963 Checkered Flag
1964 Mr. Eliminator
1964 Summer Surf
1993 Tribal Thunder
1994 Unknown Territory
1996 Calling Up Spirits
2001 Spacial Disorientation (Dick Dale/The Music Force)

Dale's best-known song, showed up in "Pulp Fiction" and was the perfect capper to the opening scene.

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