Dick Dale was born in 1937, and, at the time of writing, is still going strong. Apparently, he was the first person to play the Fender Stratocaster, but not just in the normal way: he played it upside down and backwards. He was a Peel favourite for many years, but most people know him from the omnipresent Misirlou (used to open Pulp Fiction): it has a dirty, almost punky sound that led to its being used on just about anything involving rebellious teenagers. Indeed, the fact that he always wanted to play loud led to him blowing up many amps.
Just as exciting are Nitro (FF 1995 #26) and Nitrus (FF 1996 #27), which have
staccato bursts of loud, clean twang over explosive rhythms [Rolling Stone magazine],
the hallmark of the genre Dale invented. The two instrumentals share the same basic melody, but the second adds a manic drum fill reminiscent of Gene Krupa, the very musician that inspired Dale’s sound.
His life was the beach, and it nearly cost him his life in 1979 when he almost had a leg amputated and the infection was exacerbated by pollution, causing him to become an environmentalist and to return to performing, which he had initially given up due to rectal cancer in the 60s. He has been the subject of a series of CD reissues recently, which unfortunately does not include Rocket Jockey, whence the second track comes. All are more than worthy of investigation.