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June 20, 2019

Surf rock pioneer and ‘Pulp Fiction’ theme song guitarist Dick Dale dead at 81

March 17, 2019
Dick Dale “King of Surf Guitar” at the Westbeth Theater in New York City. (Patti Ouderkirk / WireImage)

Surf rock guitar legend Dick Dale died Saturday night at the age of 81.

Dale suffered from a number of maladies like diabetes and was recovering from cancer.

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He was perhaps most well known for the 1962 “Misirlou,” which served as the theme to the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film “Pulp Fiction.”

Born Richard Anthony Monsour in 1937, Dale said he was inspired by his Middle Eastern heritage, drummer Gene Krupa — a fellow music legend — animal sounds, and the vibes of the ocean to create the surf rock sound.

His instrumental “Let’s Go Trippin’” is considered the first surf rock song.

Dale told the Miami New Times in 2011 that he was heavily involved in the development of the famed Fender Stratocaster.

“Everything that came out of Leo Fender’s head, I was his test pilot,” Dale said. “He used to say: ‘When it can withstand the barrage of punishment from Dick Dale, then it is fit for the human consumption.’ So I blew up over 50 amplifiers. And that’s why they call me the Father of Heavy Metal.”

Dale gained more fame after performing “Misirlou” on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1962 and had a resurgence after Tarantino used it in his movie.

“Having Misirlou as your opening credit, it’s just so intense,” Tarantino told Rolling Stone. “It just says you’re watching an epic, you’re watching a big, ol’ movie … It just throws down a gauntlet that the movie now has to live up to.”

Dale told the Pittsburgh City Paper in 2015, “I can’t stop touring because I will die. Physically and literally, I will die.”

In June 2018, he played Los Angeles’ famed Viper Room.

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