Community News

Surf City Legend Dick Dale Dies

by: HB News staff writer
Posted: March 18, 2019


HUNTINGTON BEACH...A surf city legend who sponded the surf craze in the 1960s has passed away. Dick Dale, 81, died Saturday night, March 16th.

Known as the "King of the Surf Guitar," Dale and the Del Tones played at local downtown places in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. He is best remembered as the father of surf music. His music inspired groups like the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, The B-52s, Stevie Ray Vaughan and just about every surf band today have Dick Dale to thank.

Many locals in Huntington Beach remember in the 1980s that Dick Dale's guitar was stolen from the newly opened International Surfing Museum on Walnut Avenue, only to reappear a short time later.

Some of his popular songs include:

  • Let's Go Trippin'/Del-Tone Rock (Deltone 1961)
  • Jungle Fever/Shake-N-Stomp (Deltone 1961)
  • Miserlou/Eight 'Til Midnight (Deltone 1962)
  • Secret Surfin Spot/Surfin' and Swingin' (Capitol 1963)
  • Let's Go Trippin' '65/Watusi Jo (Capitol 1965)
  • "Pipeline" With Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nominated for a Grammy 

Dale was born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston, Massachusetts in 1937 to a father who had emigrated from Lebanon and a mother who was Polish Belarusian. 

His instrumental music was influenced by his heritage - using Middle Eastern and Eastern European melodies as well as "exotic" scales that weren't common to rock music.

At 17, his family moved to southern California, when his father found work in the aerospace industry and Dale took to the wave and became a surfer.

It was at this time that he developed his percussive style of playing, initially on a right-handed guitar, despite being left-handed - essentially meaning he was playing back-to-front and upside down.

His percussive approach to plucking the strings meant he often wore guitar picks down to a stub in the course of a single song - but the sound was an instinctive reaction to his love of the sea.



His intense live shows regularly drew crowds of thousands to the Rendezvous Ballroom on California's Balboa Peninsula; and in September 1961, Dale released Let's Go Trippin' on the Del-Tone label, which his father founded and financed.

Widely considered to be the first surf-rock song committed to tape, it was a huge local hit, and led to Dale's first album, Surfer's Choice.

The album also included his version of Misirlou - a Greek folk song - which Dale got to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. 



Dale is survived by his wife Lana and his son, Jimmie.

Huntington Beach News 18582 Beach Blvd. #236 Huntington Beach, CA 92648 Ph. (657) 845-7475  Email:

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