And now it’s Dick Dale. His passing over the weekend has left many people stunned; another gaping hole in our Pop Culture and another vestige of Rock n’ Roll history; gone. Unless you’re a certain age and grew up in Southern California at a certain time, Dick Dale may not mean as much to you as it is to some. We grew up with Dick Dale (and his Deltones) – he was a staple in our lives as we came of age – he represented Southern California and all that it was about. He took simple guitar riffs and experimented, shaped and honed until what came to be known as Surf Guitar was born. He was a pioneer and those he influenced read like a Who’s Who of rock. Because of his Lebanese heritage, Dale took much of the Middle Eastern music he had grown up with and fused it with Rock and Country (he wanted to be a Country singer) – and because he was a surfer – all the elements came together and a new sound was born.
Anybody who lived in L.A. during this period has seen or heard Dick Dale and His Deltones at least once and probably 50 times – he was such a fixture around Southern California that you couldn’t escape his music even if you tried. In addition to the technique, Dale also pioneered the sound, making it bigger and more dynamic than it ever was before. He was rightly dubbed King Of The Surf Guitar – and even though the Surf music phenomenon was eclipsed by The British Invasion in 1964 and later on, the West Coast Sound, Dale was still active, although several health problems set him back, his popularity resurfaced with a vengeance around the time Punk came into being in the late 70s.
This session for John Peel gives you some idea of just how international his reputation had become and how much it has endured. Peel, like so many others, was a huge fan – and getting Dick Dale to do a session on his show was a high-point in his career. It was recorded on August 28, 2002 and aired on September 28th of that year.
Sit back and crank it up – it’s the least you can do.
RIP: Dick Dale – you came, you saw, you kicked ass.