He's also known for his staccato, rapid-fire style of playing (referred to by guitarists as "tremolo picking"), which lead him to break the heaviest guitar strings on the market at the time. In fact, his playing was so intense that Fender made custom amplifiers for him, including the first 100 watt amp. For these and other reasons, Dick wound up being a huge influence on Jimi Hendrix. Interestingly, Dick was left-handed, and managed to pave all this new ground while playing his guitar upside-down without restringing it, which even the fellow leftie Hendrix couldn't boast.
For a number of reasons, Dale's music ended up being influential enough on Heavy Metal that some commentators have, in all seriousness, referred to him as the Father of Heavy Metal. Part of this was his connection to the development of the amplifier and electric guitar; part of it was due to his showmanship and the intensity (and loudness) of his performances; the technique of tremolo picking, which he popularised, also wound up being ubiquitous in metal music, particularly Thrash Metal and Black Metal. Dale also played a major role in popularising the usage of Middle Eastern scales in rock music.
His heyday was in the 1960s, prior to The British Invasion. However, Dick also managed a resurgence in popularity when one of his signature tunes, the cover of "Misirlou", was featured on the soundtrack for Pulp Fiction. He's also responsible for the soundtrack to Rocket Jockey, but given the obscurity of said game, nobody noticed.
Dick Dale was also an environmental activist, stemming from when he almost lost a leg due to an injury from swimming, made worse by a pollution infection.
Dale's home was Twentynine Palms, California, and he performed well into his seventies, notably with his son, Jimmy Dale, on the drums. Sadly, Dick Dale left this Earth on the night of March 16th, 2019, to ride that big wave in the sky.
- Surfers Choice (1962)
LET'S! GO! TROPIN'!
- Ambiguously Brown: He was of Lebanese, Polish, and Belarusian descent, but due to his stage name, many people may not have picked up on it.
- As Himself: Back to the Beach
- Awesome Mc Coolname: The Alliterative Name helps.
- Career Resurrection: Thanks to Pulp Fiction.
- Car Song / Cool Car: "The Scavenger", "Grudge Match".
- Determinator: Once said he couldn't stop touring because he'd literally die, and that sadly was Not Hyperbole; due to numerous health problems, he needed touring income to pay for whatever his health insurance wouldn't cover. Fortunately, he was able to keep going until the ripe old age of 81.
- Drugs Are Bad: He not only abstained from drugs, but also discouraged his crew as well.
- Future Music: Collaborating with composer Aarin Richard and ride producer Eddie Sotto, he provided the theme music for Disneyland's ride Space Mountain. This piece was used from 1996 to 2003 (when the ride was closed for remodeling; after it reopened in 2005, a new, more symphonic piece by Michael Giacchino was used).
- Greatest Hits Album: A career spanning over five decades is bound to build up a significant amount. The single-disc King of the Surf Guitar: The Best of Dick Dale is a critical favorite, but if that isn't enough for you, there's also the double-disc set Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology which one-ups many others by covering his 90s comeback on top of his peak years.
- Instrumental: "Misirlou" and "Let's Go Trippin'" are particularly famous examples, though there are plenty more of these in his repertoire. Dick wasn't much for singing.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Averages a 6. Not much of a ruckus by today's standards, but for the early 1960s, Dick's music was intense.
- Music of Note: As the pioneer of Surf Rock, definitely so!
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The start of "Let's Go Trippin'".
- Sampling: He was not happy about The Black Eyed Peas using "Misirlou" for "Pump It".
- Sequel Song: "Miserlou Twist." It's "Miserlou" with strings!
- Shout-Out: Jimi Hendrix included a tribute to Dale in the song "Third Stone from the Sun" from Are You Experienced with the line "And you'll never hear surf music again." This was Hendrix' sly way of encouraging Dale to get better after hearing that Dale had cancer. Given that Dale's career continued for some five decades afterward, one can argue that it worked. Dale later covered the song in gratitude.
- The Southpaw: Lefthanded, yet still uses a right hand instrument.
- Surfer Dude: As the poster boy for the Surf Rock genre, this is an obvious title.
- Surf Rock: The Trope Maker, or at the very least, the Trope Codifier and Genre Popularizer for the first wave, if you'll pardon the pun. (The Beach Boys naturally codified and popularized the second wave.)
- Ur-Example: In some ways, he qualifies as one for Heavy Metal. See his biography above for more about this.