UPDATE: RIP Dick Dale, ‘King of the Surf Guitar’ Passes Away at 81

dick dale passes away at 81

By DONNA BALANCIA

Dick Dale, known as “King of The Surf Guitar,” has passed away, sources said on Sunday.

Dale, who had been quietly suffering health issues for many years, was considered a  leader in the surf guitar music genre. Dale was 81.

READ Lana Dale Establishes Go Fund Me Page for Funeral Expenses

Born Richard Anthony Monsour, his famous songs, like “Misirlou,” and many others have become part of the American music fabric.

Dale created the sound of the surf guitar by working with Middle Eastern music scales applied to a driving beat.

Dick Dale and Lana Dale - Photo by Donna Balancia
Dick Dale and Lana Dale at Whisky A Go-Go – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dale performed up until the very end and once told CaliforniaRocker.com that performing was what was keeping him alive. Sources said they were informed of his passing at 4 a.m. Sunday.

Among those who paid tribute to Dale was former drummer Dusty Watson of The Sonics.

“The legend and king of surf guitar has passed,” Watson wrote on his Facebook page. “Condolences to family and friends and all those who were touched by your undeniable presence. Rest In Peace friend.”

Dick Dale drumming on Sam's bass - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
Dick Dale drumming on Sam’s bass – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dale told California Rocker in an interview that he would never quit playing.

“They say ‘Why don’t you retire, Dick?’”  Dale said. “Well, there are two reasons I don’t retire: Playing music keeps me alive, and my music helps others.”

Read our interview with Dick Dale here

Calls were in to wife, Lana Dale. More to come.