US rock guitarist Dick Dale, whose song Misirlou featured over the opening credits to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, has died aged 81, reports say.
Dale, who is known for creating a style of music associated with surf culture referred to as surf rock, died on Saturday evening, the Guardian reports.
His genre of music, launched in the early 1960s, inspired numerous electric guitarists and his career spanned more than five decades. Dale was also recruited by the Fender company to test drive and help improve their instruments and amps
The cause of death is not yet known.
Dale’s bassist, Sam Bolle, confirmed the news to the Guardian.
Celebrities and fans have been paying tribute to the musician referred to as the “King of the Surf Guitar”, with many describing him on social media as a “true innovator”.
Born Richard Anthony Monsour in May 1937, Dale developed his distinctive sound by adding to instrumental rock influences from his Middle Eastern heritage, along with a “wet” reverb sound and his rapid alternative picking style.
In 2011, he told the Miami New Times that the hectic drumming of Gene Krupa, along with the “screams” of wild animals and the sound and sensation of being in the ocean inspired his sound.
As the progenitor of the surf rock genre and an innovator who helped stretch the possibilities of the electric guitar, Dale inspired musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Ry Cooder and the Beach Boys.
After moving to Southern California as a senior in high school in 1954, Dale developed an obsession of surfing, ultimately combining his two passions and teaming with the Del-Tones to create tracks like 1961’s “Let’s Go Trippin’,” considered the first surf rock song, and the following year’s “Miserlou,” Dale’s take on an Eastern Mediterranean song; the Beach Boys would cover “Let’s Go Trippin’” two years later on their 1963 LP Surfin’ U.S.A.