You may not know his name, but you’ve definitely heard his music. Dick Dale is considered the father of the surf guitar, and his songs have been featured in countless movies and TV shows. His sound is unmistakable, and his impact on rock and roll is undeniable.
Dale was born in Boston in 1937, and his love of music began early. His guitar style is heavily influenced by Middle Eastern and Spanish music, which gives his music a unique and unforgettable sound.
1. “Jungle Fever”
One of the favorites has got to be “Jungle Fever.” It’s this catchy tune that makes you want to get up and dance. The best part is that it’s only two minutes and thirty seconds long, so it’s the perfect song to add to your playlist if you’re looking for something upbeat and won’t overstay its welcome.
2. “Let’s Go Trippin”
The second song on our list is “Let’s Go Trippin’.” This song was released in 1962 and is considered one of the first surf rock songs. The song is about, you guessed it, going on a road trip to the beach.
The guitar playing is fast and furious, and the drums are pounding. The whole song has a feeling of excitement and anticipation, which is why it’s still so popular today.
You might not know this, but “Misirlou” is a Greek folk song. Dick Dale was the first person to give it a surf rock makeover, and the result is one of the most famous surf songs of all time.
What makes “Misirlou” so great is its catchy melody and Dale’s signature guitar licks. It’s the perfect song to listen to on a hot summer day, whether at the beach or just chilling in your backyard.
“Pipeline” is a classic surf song and one of Dale’s best. It’s got a great guitar riff and an all-around fun song to listen to. It’s no wonder it’s been used in many movies and tv shows.
5. “Surf Beat”
Dick Dale is often credited with inventing the surf rock genre, and “Surf Beat” is a perfect example of why. The song features Dale’s signature reverb-drenched guitar sound, which helped to create the laid-back, sun-soaked vibe that would come to be associated with surf rock.
The song was a massive hit in the surf community and can still be heard blasting from beachfront speakers worldwide. If you close your eyes while listening, you can almost feel the sand between your toes and the sun on your face.
6. “The Wedge”
“The Wedge” is a song about big waves—and it’s one of Dale’s most popular songs. It’s been used in movies and TV shows, and it’s just a really fun, upbeat tune.
The song is named after a surf break in Newport Beach, California, and it’s all about the excitement of riding a big wave. Dale said he wrote the song after watching surfers ride some massive waves one day, and he just wanted to capture that feeling in a song.
The song is named after the Biblical creature, and it lives up to its name. It starts with a slow, eerie guitar riff that gradually builds up to a fast, frenzied pace. Dale’s lightning-fast picking is on full display here, and it’s truly a sight to behold.
“Nitro” is one of Dale’s most famous songs and it’s easy to see why. It’s got a killer riff, and the Vietnam War was raging when it came out, so the song’s lyrics about the horrors of war resonated with people.
But “Nitro” is also unique because it’s one of the first songs Dale wrote after his cancer diagnosis. He was given a 50/50 chance of survival and told that he might never play guitar again.
9. “Rivers of Babylon”
You might not think of “Rivers of Babylon” as a surf guitar song, but Dick Dale proves it can be done.
What makes Dale’s version of the song so special is his use of reverb and echo. These effects give the song a Surf guitar feel while maintaining the original Reggae sound.
The result is a catchy, toe-tapping tune that makes you want to ride the waves all day long.
10. “Mr. Eliminator”
This song is from Dale’s 1963 Album, Surfer’s Choice. “Mr. Eliminator” is a fast-paced, high-energy tune that is sure to get your blood pumping. It’s one of Dale’s most popular songs and is often considered one of the best surf songs ever.