Los Angeles: Dick Dale, the “King of the Surf Guitar” whose “Miserlou” was famously used as the title music for Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction“, has died. He was 81. His bassist, Sam Bolle, confirmed the news to the Guardian.
Dale formulated the sound and attack of the Southern California-bred instrumental style “Surf Music” in the early ’60s. His self-released records with his band the Deltones led the way for countless other acts — the Chantays, the Surfaris, Eddie and the Showmen and the Pyramids among them — who emulated his reverb-soaked, “wet” sound and aggressive attack in their own hits.
In his “The Illustrated Discography of Surf Music”, writer and latter-day surf guitarist John Blair described the genesis of Dale’s distinctive and unprecedented sound, variety.com reported. “He attempted to musically reproduce the feeling he had while surfing, and the result of this somewhat nebulous and certainly subjective approach was the surfing music genre,” Blair said.
“The feeling was one of vibration and pulsification, which he produced by a heavy staccato sound on the low-key strings of his guitar accompanied by a heavy thunder-like beat.”
Dale’s career went into eclipse as the British Invasion pushed the surf sound to the side, and health problems pushed him into retirement in the late 1960s. He made periodic returns to the spotlight with tours entertaining a new generation of listners as in 1994’s “Pulp Fiction”, an American crime thriller drama.