Dick Dale: Requiem for the King of the Surf Guitar

Dick Dale performs in the Sixties (Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

I have a fond memory of walking with Dick Dale through the corridors of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix some seven years ago. He said he could sense that the place was filled with spirits emanating from the ancient and modern instruments collected there, and even the building’s Indian sandstone facade. He felt the spirits were calling out to him.

Now Dick himself has entered the spirit realm. He left this life March 16, 2019, after a long battle with a number of serious illnesses including rectal cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and a heart condition. But his spirit is still very much with us. Dale’s devotees included guitar greats like Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

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Alan di Perna

In a career that spans five decades, Alan di Perna has written for pretty much every magazine in the world with the word “guitar” in its title, as well as other prestigious outlets such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Creem, Player, Classic Rock, Musician, Future Music, Keyboard, grammy.com and reverb.com. He is author of Guitar Masters: Intimate Portraits, Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History and co-author of Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Sound Style and Revolution of the Electric Guitar. The latter became the inspiration for the Metropolitan Museum of Art/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll.” As a professional guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, Alan has worked with recording artists Brianna Lea Pruett, Fawn Wood, Brenda McMorrow, Sat Kartar and Shox Lumania.