Dick Dale and His Del-Tones: Misirlou
Dick Dale and His Del-Tones
King Of The Surf Guitar: The Best of Dick Dale and His Del-Tones (Rhino)
Dick Dale (guitar),
and his Del-Tones.
Composed by Michalis Patrino. Arranged by Dick Dale.
Recorded: May 1962
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
You thought that Miles and Trane were the only people experimenting with modes in the early 1960s? Think again. Dick Dale, the King of the Surf Guitar, was playing some crazy scales on his Stratocaster back in the day, with a little help from his friend: the Fender reverb unit. The "wet sound" from this high-tech (for 1962) baby defined a new style of play. In Dale's words, he "just started cranking on that mother." The modal sensibility came from the history of "Misirlou," which started life as a Greek popular song. But under Dale's prodigious digits, the result was a wild and unhinged instrumental that shot to the top of the Los Angeles charts, and has retained a cult following to this day. Most people believe surf music started with the Beach Boys, but there is still a hardcore group that insists that real surf music is guitar-driven and doesn't need any stinkin' vocals. For this fringe of true believers—and you are invited to join their ranks—Dick Dale is the King.
This song had an interesting afterlife. It was featured in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. The Black Eyed Peas used it as the basis for their song "Pump It." And "Misirlou" was celebrated at the Athens Olympics as a masterwork of Greek music, and played at the closing ceremony. But the event organizers invited Anna Vissi, not Dick Dale, to perform it. What wusses! As punishment, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos decree 30 years of lousy waves on the shores of the Aegean Sea.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia