Dick Dale – “Misirlou” Live on TV! – 1963

Seriously. You know his music, but here’s the real story.

Known as the “King of Surf Guitar” he helped to change rock music as early as the 1950s. Always a fan of his technique and tremolo innovation, little did I know that he was heavily influenced by his Uncle, an oud player, who performed for bellydancers!

I should’ve known – the musical scales, the steady picking in conjunction with melodic changes, rising/falling, pushing/pulling – all classic elements found in Middle-Eastern belly dance music.

Plus, Dick was left handed but played his guitar upside down AND backwards. To top it off he beta-tested the new electric guitar created by his friend, Leo Fender. A little invention called the Fender Stratocaster! Leo cracked up when he saw Dick playing it upside-down and backwards, but of course, Dick tore it up and the rest is history.

Chances are you’ve heard his rendition of “Misirlou” as seen here, live on a TV show in 1963, or more famously in the Quentin Tarantino flick Pulp Fiction.

Unveiled Dance Company has even performed a choreography to The Clapsaddles version.

In short, I think it’s safe to say that if it weren’t for bellydancers influencing an old oud player, rock and roll music wouldn’t be what it is today.

The world is making more sense now.

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