Dick Dale (born on May 4, 1937) is a Lebanese American surf rock guitarist, known as The King of the Surf Guitar. He pioneered the surf music style, drawing on Eastern musical scales and experimenting with reverberation. He worked closely with Fender to produce custom made amplifiers, including the first-ever 100-watt guitar amplifier. He pushed the limits of electric amplification technology, helping to develop new equipment that was capable of producing distorted, "thick, clearly defined tones" at "previously undreamed-of volumes." The "breakneck speed of his single-note staccato picking technique" as well as his showmanship with the guitar is considered a precursor to heavy metal music, influencing guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.
His style is different and unique. Since his first appearances Balboa, Ca. at the famed Rendezvous Ballroom, he has set and broken attendance records everywhere he's performed. His appearances at the Rendezvous Ballroom broke every existing record for the Ballroom by drawing capacity crowds of over four thousand screaming dancing fans every weekend each night down on the Balboa peninsula.
Dick Dale invented surf music in the 1950's. Not the '60's as is commonly believed. He was given the title "King of the Surf Guitar" by his fellow surfers with whom he surfed with from sun-up to sun-down. He met Leo Fender the guitar and amplifier Guru and Leo asked Dale to play his newly creation, the Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar. The minute Dale picked up the guitar, Leo Fender broke into uncontrolled laughter and disbelief, he was watching Dale play a right handed guitar upside down and backwards, Dale was playing a right handed guitar left handed and changing the chords in his head then transposing the chords to his hands to create a sound never heard before.
Surfers' Choice (Deltone 1962)
King of the Surf Guitar (Capitol 1963)
Checkered Flag (Capitol 1963)
Mr. Eliminator (Capitol 1964)
Summer Surf (Capitol 1964)
Rock out with Dick Dale and his Del-Tones: Live at Ciro's (Capitol 1965)
Greatest Hits (GNP Crescendo 1975)
The Tiger's Loose (Balboa 1983) [live album]
Tribal Thunder (HighTone 1993)
Unknown Territory (HighTone 1994)
Calling Up Spirits (Beggars Banquet 1996)
Spacial Disorientation (Dick Dale Records / The Orchard 2001)
I was surprised he's still actively playing, I caught a TV special last year and at first I didn't know who he was. Then he started playing and it came back to me. I like surf music even though I don't play it very often anymore.
He can still play really well, but he said that he "attacks" his guitar when he's doing a show, it's the only way he knows how to do it and it actually causes him physical pain when he's playing guitar.
I have a couple surfing compilation CD's, and a few of his famous songs are on there for me that's all the DD I need.
Seen him live twice, last time at a venue so small, I had to move right to the back to spare my ears, so all I could see was his head bopping above the crowd. The stage was simply too low. I love Dick Dale and that "wet" reverb he can create, going for the full run, but one album in particular proves elusive.