Dick Dale, “Misirlou”


Today is the birthday of Dick Dale (b. Richard Monsour, 1937), a major player in the development of what came to be known as surf music. A surfer himself, he began exploring ways to make rock music reflect his passion, developing the distinct reverb effect that sounds sort of like splashing water. Of Lebanese descent, Dale incorporates Middle Eastern sounds and melodies into his guitar work. The most well-known example is his 1962 instrumental version of the Ottoman Greek folk tune “Misirlou”, characterized by Dale’s unique picking style and the heavy back beat. Dale’s arrangement was subsequently covered by the Beach Boys and the Ventures, and was memorably used by Quentin Tarrantino in Pulp Fiction. Here’s Dale doing it himself (with his band the Del-Tones) in the 1963 film A Swingin’ Affair:

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