LOS ANGELES (AP) — The man who earned the title King of the Surf Guitar has died at age 81. His former bassist Sam Bolle says Dick Dale passed away Saturday night. No other details were available.
Dale played pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals in the early 1960s on songs like “Miserlou” and “Let’s Go Trippin.”
Dale liked to say it was he and not the Beach Boys who invented surf music. Some critics have said he was right.
An avid surfer, he began to build a devoted fan base across Los Angeles in the late 1950s and early 1960s with repeated appearances at Newport Beach’s old Rendezvous Ballroom.
It was there that he played “Miserlou” and other compositions at wall-rattling volume on a custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar.
Dale says he developed the style by trying to merge the sounds of crashing ocean waves with rockabilly melodies.