Dick Dale, the Inventor of Surf Rock, Was a Lebanese-American Kid from Boston
Dale died on Saturday, at age eighty-one. It’s perhaps curious, at first glance, that a Lebanese-American kid from Boston invented a genre known as surf rock, but such is Dale’s story. He was born Richard Monsour in 1937; several decades earlier, his paternal grandparents had immigrated to the U.S. from Beirut.
Dale’s work was directly and mightily informed by the Arabic music that he listened to as a child. “My music comes from the rhythm of Arab songs,” Dale told the journalist George Baramki Azar, in 1998. “The darbukkah, along with the wailing style of Arab singing, especially the way they use the throat, creates a very powerful force.”