Born May 4, 1937 in Massachusetts, Dick Dale helped pioneer the sounds of surf music and has been proclaimed "King of the Surf Guitar". Wanting his playing to reflect the sounds and feeling of surfing, Dale used staccato picking on heavy gauge strings and heavily reverbed amplification (although this was not present on his initial recordings), which he worked closely with Leo Fender to help develop. Dick is also a self-taught player, learning to play left-handed on a right-handed guitar without restringing the instrument (even today, he still plays with the guitar strung upside down). His playing often displays a Middle-Eastern influence which comes from his father's family (who is Lebanese).
Dale started out playing around southern California with his backing band, the Del-Tones, in the late 1950s. Dick Dale & His Del-Tones became a popular attraction around southern California and Dick had appearances in a number of 1960's "beach" movies. Early records were released by Dick's father, Jim Monsour on the Deltone Records imprint. Dick later signed to Capital Records and issued for 4 studio LPs (there were frequent line up changes in the Deltones and the Capital LPs featured Dick backed by mostly studio musicians). A bout with rectal cancer forced Dick's retirement in 1965 but he returned in the 1970s', reviving the Del-Tone name for a time. He eventually dropped the Del-Tone name a released several solo albums in the 1990s and early 2000s. Although his studio output in the new millenium was sparse, Dick continued to perform live. In early 2008, Dick announced that his rectal cancer had returned and he was in the process of receiving treatment.
He returned to touring work in 2009 and has toured up until the present day.