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)

Buy Track


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

Tags: ·

  • 1 secos_fan // Nov 01, 2008 at 11:21 PM
    Dick Dale is apparently being treated for a serious illness at a Los Angeles hospital.