“Sort of like Hendrix, nobody else can do what he does. People should see it, it's absolutely astonishing.” (31 March 1995)

Dick Dale (born Richard Anthony Monsour, May 4, 1937 - March 16, 2019) was an American surf rock guitarist, known as The King of the Surf Guitar ... The use of 'Miserlou' in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction gained him a new audience . . . (read more at Wikipedia)

Links To Peel

Peel was well aware of Dick Dale before the guitarist's rediscovery in the 1990s. In a Disc & Music Echo column in 1971 he describes going on a hunt for old records in specialist record shops in Birmingham - "the singles, EPs and LPs I missed in my colourful youth". He obtained some by Dick Dale and told his readers: "Incidentally, those of you who think that playing the guitar fast is the same as playing it well would adore Dick Dale - he plays fast, fast, fast"[1]

Peel was highly impressed by Dick Dale when he saw the guitarist at The Garage in London in March 1995.[2] He recalled the experience soon afterwards on the TV programme Ten Of The Best:

"Dick played a blinder. I mean, he still cares about it. And he got stuck in, and I just went berserk, I have to admit. I went down to the front, I was covering everybody in beer, and dancing – which is something I don’t do easily – and shouting at him between numbers. It was just marvellous."

After introducing himself to Dale backstage, Peel arranged what would be the first of five sessions by the guitarist for his show. At the end of 1995, the unrestrained enthusiasm of the DJ helped Dale become the oldest artist ever to chalk up a Festive Fifty entry, a record he renewed a year later.[1] For Radio 4 listeners, the guitarist’s 'Let's Go Trippin' became familiar as the theme tune of Peel’s Home Truths show, which started in April 1998. In September 2000, Dale shared the bill with the Fall at a special ‘Peel Sessions Live’ event at London’s Royal Festival Hall.[3]


Dick Dale - Misirlou (Jools Holland)-0

In earlier decades, Peel hadn’t counted Dale among his favourites, despite living in America when the guitarist was enjoying his greatest chart success. However, the passage of time obviously painted him in a rosier hue:

"He was almost the only person that existed in California when I lived there in 1960: the man who single-handedly virtually invented a genre." [4]

Unlike others of his generation, the veteran king of surf guitar was able to offer something musically to Peel in a new era and from then on the DJ always held him in the very highest regard. On 02 October 2001, Peel learned that Dale would be opening for Clinic at some shows on the US west coast:

"Has the world gone mad? There's Dick Dale, one of the world's most important artistes, opening for Clinic. I'd say more like Elton John, Paul McCartney opening for Dick Dale really would make more sense to me."


D is for... Dick Dale

The final time Dale was to feature on the Peel show was 22 April 2004 when the guitarist's fifth session was broadcast. Peel commented:

"If you were making a list of the great surf guitar players, Dick Dale would fill the first 10 places at least."

In 2012, seven Dick Dale LPs were found in Peel's record collection when TheSpace and JohnPeelArchive websites released details of the first 100 albums by artists beginning D, along with a short video D Is For Dick Dale.[5]

Festive Fifty Entries



  • Five sessions. No known commercial release.

1. Recorded: 1995-03-30 (in tandem with Andy Kershaw show, TX 1995-05-07). First Broadcast: 08 April 1995. Repeat: 23 December 1995.

  • Bo / Crankin’ / The Wedge / Nightrider / 3rd Stone From The Sun / Miserlou

2. Recorded: 1995-07-10. First Broadcast 12 August 1995. No repeats.

  • Fish Taco / Kiss Of Fire / Let's Go Tripping / Peter Gunn

3. Recorded: 2000-09-21. First Broadcast 05 October 2000. No repeats.

  • Death Ride / Dune / Wake The Dead / Dulce Corazon

4. Recorded: 2002-08-28. First Broadcast 10 September 2002. No repeats.

  • Avalanche / Jesse / Gremmie 02 / Surftrip

5. Recorded: 2004-03-24. First Broadcast 22 April 2004. No repeats.

  • Shakin Stomp J P / Death Of A Gremmie / D D Shuffle / Mi Corazon (My Heart) / Dd Boogie

Other Shows Played

  • 21 January 1995: The Beast (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 03 February 1995: (Ghost) Riders In The Sky (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 24 March 1995: Nitro (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 31 March 1995: (Ghost) Riders In The Sky (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone (John positively raves about a Dick Dale gig he has been to, urges everyone to see him live, and reveals that the following week's programming has been changed to allow broadcast of a session by the man.)
  • 01 April 1995: Mexico (LP-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 01 April 1995: Scalped (LP-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 01 April 1995 (BFBS): Nitro (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 08 April 1995 (BFBS): Scalped (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 08 April 1995 (BFBS): Hava Nagila (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 08 April 1995 (BFBS): Mexico (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 08 April 1995 (BFBS): The Beast (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 14 April 1995: Shredded Heat (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone ((JP: "Here in the Radio One studios we have this rather officious little indicator which flashes red every time - well, it says 'warning: headphone level too high'. I'm pleased to say it remained red throughout that entire track.")
  • 15 April 1995: Nitro (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 24 April 1995 (BBC World Service): Ghostriders In The Sky (LP - Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 29 April 1995 (BFBS): Nitro (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone (JP: 'Now there's a god if you like, and brothers and sisters, I like!')
  • 29 April 1995: The Eliminator (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 05 May 1995: Hava Nagila (CD-Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 06 May 1995 (BFBS): The Eliminator (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 13 May 1995: Take It Off (CD-King Of The Surf Guitar: The Best Of Dick Dale & The Del-Tones) Rhino
  • 13 May 1995 (BFBS): Hava Nagila (CD-King Of The Surf Guitar: The Best Of Dick Dale & The Del-Tones) Rhino
  • 13 May 1995 (BFBS): Hava Nagila (LP-Unknown Territory) Hightone 31 Years Of Dick segue spoiled by worng speed moment
  • 19 May 1995: Mr. Eliminator (LP-King Of The Surf Guitar: The Best Of Dick Dale & The Del-Tones) Rhino
  • 26 May 1995: Tidal Wave (LP-King Of The Surf Guitar: The Best Of Dick Dale & The Del-Tones) Rhino
  • 27 May 1995 (BFBS): Mr. Eliminator (CD-King Of The Surf Guitar: The Best Of Dick Dale & His Del-Tones)
  • 03 June 1995: The Victor (CD-The Best Of Dick Dale & His Del-Tones) Rhino Entertainment
  • 19 June 1995 (BBC World Service): Scalped (LP - Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 24 June 1995 (BFBS): Nitro (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone (JP: “You see, if Dick Dale can still do it, why can't Duane Eddy?”)
  • 24 June 1995: Tidal Wave (LP-King of the Surf Guitar: The Best of Dick Dale and the Del-Tones) Rhino
  • 30 June 1995: Mexico (album - Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 03 July 1995 (BBC World Service): Night Rider (LP - King Of The Surf Guitar - The Best Of Dick Dale & The Del-Tones) Rhino
  • 07 July 1995: Nitro (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 14 July 1995: (Dick Dale interview live from Phoenix Festival)
  • 14 July 1995: Shredded Heat (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 27 August 1995: Scalped (CD: Unknown Territory) Hightone
  • 02 September 1995: Mexico (Compilation CD -...Hold On) Melody Maker
  • 16 September 1995 (BFBS): Mexico (Compilation CD-...Hold On) Melody Maker
  • 22 December 1995: Shredded Heat (CD: Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 30 December 1995: Nitro (Peel Session) FF#26 (JP: “Man of the year for me...”)
  • 30 December 1995 (BFBS): Shredded Heat (CD-Tribal Thunder) Hightone
  • 27 April 1996 (BFBS): (Peel has a promo of the new Dick Dale LP (Calling Up Spirits), which, being on cassette, he cannot play on air: he pronounces it to be "good twangy guitar stuff", aside from Dick's attempts to sing on one or two songs: his voice is, John thinks, not dissimilar to his own (no compliment intended).)
  • 28 April 1996: Nitrus (CD - Calling Up Spirits) Beggars Banquet
  • May 1996 (BBC World Service): Catamount (LP - Calling Up Spirits) Beggars Banquet
  • 04 May 1996 (BFBS): 'Nitrus (CD-Calling Up Spirits)' (Beggars Banquet)
(JP: 'This man is a god! And to think that the Melody Maker or the NME, forget which one it was, dismissed him as a heavy metal guitarist or something.') However....
(JP: 'Sounds like another one of his tunes played slightly slower, but who really cares?')
  • 14 September 1996: A Run For Life (album - Rarities) Surf
  • 23 September 1996 (BBC World Service): Dick Dale Stomp (LP - King Of The Surf Guitar) Capitol (JP says that Dick Dale recently asked a London audience to pray for the health of Peel's wife, Sheila.)
  • November 1996 (FSK): A Run For Life
  • 05 October 1996: Surf Beat () Surf
  • 21 December 1996: Nitrus (CD - Calling Up Spirits) Beggars Banquet (JP: 'Has to be Dick: I want him and I want him now...)
  • 22 December 1996: Nitrus (LP - Calling Up Spirits) Beggars Banquet FF#27 (Mark Whitby notes (in 'The Festive Fifty', Nevin Publishing, p. 43) that the previous year Dick, at 58 years of age, had become the oldest man to place a Festive Fifty entry, and with this track he beat his own record.)
  • 12 January 2000: Nitrus (CD-Calling Up Spirits) Beggars Banquet (Peelenium 1996)
  • 23 March 2000: Surfin' Rebel (LP-Summer Surf) Capitol
  • 24 May 2000: Take It Off (LP - King Of The Surf Guitar) Rhino
  • 14 June 2000: Nitro (LP – Tribal Thunder) Hightone (Peel is apparently wearing a Dick Dale t-shirt, with ‘King Of Surf Guitar’ on the back)
  • 22 June 2000: One Double One Oh! (Instrumental Version) (2xCD - Better Shred Than Dead - The Dick Dale Anthology) Rhino Records
  • 22 June 2000 (Radio Eins): King Of The Surf Guitar (2xCD - Better Shred Than Dead - The Dick Dale Anthology) Rhino Records
  • 28 September 2000: ("I love Dick to the point where my trousers explode at the mere mention of his name".)

See Also

External Links


  1. Mark Whitby notes (in 'The Festive Fifty', Nevin Publishing, p. 43).
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