R.I.P. Surf Rock Icon Dick Dale

"The King of the Surf Guitar" has passed away at the age of 81
R.I.P. Surf Rock Icon Dick Dale
Celebrated surf guitarist Dick Dale has passed away. He died last night (March 16) at the age of 81.

Dale's bassist Sam Bolle confirmed the news to The Guardian. The cause of death hasn't yet been announced, but Dale had battled some serious health issues in recent years, including rectal cancer, diabetes, damaged vertebrae and kidney failure.

Born Richard Anthony Mansour, Dale was often known as "The King of the Surf Guitar." He helped pioneer the distinctive surf guitar sound and is cited among the first rock guitarists to use reverb and play non-Western scales. He also strung his guitar upside-down and used very heavy gauge strings.

Dale rose to prominence in the early 1960s. His 1961 single "Let's Go Trippin'" is often credited with launching America's surf music craze.

In 1962, he recorded a guitar version of the traditional song "Misirlou," which was famously used in the opening sequence of 1994's Pulp Fiction. That recording was later prominently sampled in the Black Eyed Peas' 2005 track "Pump It."