Who would have known that the iconic American surf rock version of the Middle Eastern folk song Miserlou was invented by a Lebanese?
It’s the same Miserlou played in the opening credits of the Quentin Tarantino 1994 classic Pulp Fiction and sampled by the Black Eye Peas in their 2006 song Pump It.
It’s also played in every Lebanese wedding, literally.
The man behind it is none other than the late Lebanese American rock guitarist Richard Anthony Mansour, or famously known by his stage name Dick Dale.
His family moved to a coastal town in southern California where he learned to surf during his senior year at high school.
Dubbed “The King of Surf Guitar,” Mansour was heavily influenced by Middle Eastern music he listened to as a child and became the pioneer of the type of music called surf rock.
Surf rock is a subgenre of rock music tightly associated with surf culture. It was founded in southern California and gain most of its popularity in the early 1960s.
Interested in music from an early age, he bought his first guitar from his friend for $8 and paid him back in installments.
He learned how to play the derbake (goblet drum) from his Lebanese uncle. It was this drumming technique that helped shape Dale’s development of surf rock music.
Mansour lived to have a successful career in music. Despite abstaining from alcohol and drugs for health reasons, he unfortunately passed away due to health complications at the age of 81.
His music has had an immense impact on rock guitarists and pop culture, especially when his version of Miserlou was featured in Pulp Fiction then again in Pump It, in which he gained a new flock of fans.
He had also worked closely with Fender, the renowned instrument manufacturing company to produce custom-made amplifiers, notably the first-ever 100-watt guitar amp.
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