Dick Dale, king of surf guitar, dead at 81

Dick Dale, whose airy guitar licks became the foundation of the surf rock genre, died Saturday at 81.

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Sam Bolle, a bassist who performed with Dale, confirmed his death to The Guardian. Dale suffered from various health issues. His cause of death was not released.

Dale’s 1962 hit “Miserlou” re-found fame decades later as the opening credit song for the movie “Pulp Fiction.”

His 1961 single “Let’s Go Trippin’” is considered the first instrumental surf rock song.

Dale’s distinct playing style led to his unique sound. It also led to his work helping Leo Fender design the Stratocaster guitar.

"(Fender) used to say: 'When it can withstand the barrage of punishment from Dick Dale, then it is fit for the human consumption.' So I blew up over 50 amplifiers. And that's why they call me the Father of Heavy Metal," Dale told the Miami New Times in 2011.

Dale stopped performing in the mid 1970s but was playing again by the 1980s and continued touring into the 21st century. Although he had health insurance, it did not provide coverage to pay to replenish supplies to keep his stoma infection-free, BIllboard reported in 2015. Dale suffered from diabetes and had gone through post-cancer treatments.

"I can’t stop touring because I will die. Physically and literally, I will die,” Dale said.

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