Dick Dale, Legendary Surf Rock Guitarist, Dies at 81

Dale’s version of “Misirlou” was the iconic opening credit track for “Pulp Fiction”

Last Updated: March 17, 2019 @ 3:16 PM

Dick Dale, legendary rock guitarist and surf rock pioneer, died Sunday, his live bassist Sam Bolle told The Guardian. Dale was 81.

Reps for Dale didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap for further details.

Born Richard Anthony Monsour in May 1937, Dale revolutionized rock in the early 1960s with two iconic songs: “Let’s Go Trippin,” the song credited with the creation of surf rock; and his version of “Misirlou,” a single-string rattler that became an overnight hit after he performed it on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1963. It became part of film history 31 years later when Quentin Tarantino used it during the opening credits of “Pulp Fiction.”

Dale continued touring until his death and had dates set for later this year. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, Dale said that he suffered from multiple serious health issues, including kidney failure, cancer and damaged vertebrae. He said that because his health insurance refused to pay for ongoing post-cancer treatments, he needed to keep touring to cover his health costs.

“I can’t stop touring because I will die. Physically and literally, I will die. y only income is what comes in when I’m on the road,” he said.

“But I’ve also got to realize I’ve been kept alive for a reason. People are not only coming to a concert, they’re coming to a way of life… where we’re willing to share what our lives are all about and how we make fun of [health issues]. It’s not ‘Oh, I’m suffering down here and you’re having a good time up there.’ I can tell ‘em how much goddam pain I’m going through ‘up there.’ I let them know: I’ve got the same crap you’ve got.”

Dale is survived by his wife Lana and his son James, who was his drummer.

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