King of Surf Guitar, Dick Dale Passes Away

March 18, 2019

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Dick Dale, born Richard Anthony Monsour in 1937, the surf rock pioneer, died on Saturday night, he was 81. The guitarist's health had declined over the past 20 years due to a number of illnesses, including diabetes, kidney disease and rectal cancer. 

Dale, changed the sound of rock and roll in the early 1960s when he upped the reverb on his guitar and applied the Arabic scales of his father's native Lebanon. Born and originally raised in Massachusetts, he found his aesthetic when his family moved to Orange County, California in 1954 — where he took up surfing. His music defined the sound of Rock n Roll on the beach and surf culture in movies, TV and of course setting the tone of the opening credits to Quentin Tarentino's Pulp Fiction.

He also played a big role in the most popular guitar in history as one of the first people Leo Fender gave one of his newewst creation the Fender Stratocaster. "I met a man called Leo Fender," he told NPR, "who is the Einstein of the guitar and the amplifiers. He says, 'Here, I just made a guitar, it's a Stratocaster. You just beat it to death and tell me what you think. So when I started playing on that thing, I wanted to get it to be as loud as I could, like Gene Krupa drums. And as I was surfing, when the waves picked me up and took me through the tubes, I would get that rumble sound."

While Dale was not a reggae artist by any stretch of the word, but he was a phenomenal talent that dedicated his craft to the beach, to the guitar and over all, to surf, for that we give thanks.