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DICK DALE 1937--2019


FEW, IF any, sports have a more readily identifiable culture than surfing, and occasionally its tribal elements break big. Think board shorts, bikinis and Dick Dale, the guitarist who pioneered the surf-rock genre.

Born Richard Monsour, Dale moved from Massachusetts to Southern California as a senior in high school and added a second passion, surfing, to his love of guitar. His most recognizable hit, "Miserlou," was an old tune he learned from his Lebanese uncles. They played it on a lute-like instrument called an oud; Dale, a lefty, played it on an upside-down electric guitar, at a frenetic pace inspired by the exhilaration of catching a wave. "As I'd go out learning to surf," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1988, "I'd feel the power of waves coming over my body. It's like you're with God."