Dick Dale, the King of Surf Rock and Pulp Fiction theme guitarist, has died aged 81

18 March 2019, 12:25 | Updated: 18 March 2019, 17:31

Dick Dale with Stevie Wonder
Dick Dale with Stevie Wonder. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Dick Dale - the man behind the Pulp Fiction theme song 'Misirlou' - has died at the age of 81.

The guitar pioneer was known for his fast strumming style, and helped inspire artists such as The Beach Boys and Jimi Hendrix.

His most famous instrumental piece 'Misirlou' was famously played over the opening credits to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction in 1994, bringing his music to a new generation.

Dale's bassist Sam Bolle confirmed he had died on Saturday night (March 16).

The cause of death is not yet known, but the guitarist is known to have had a long history of ill health.

His agent called his death "a sad day for rock 'n' roll".

He retired from music in 1966 after being diagnosed with rectal cancer, but after beating the disease, he tried out many other interests including caring for endangered animals and obtaining a pilot's licence. He also worked as an environmental campaigner.

He returned to music in the 1980s, and continued to perform until his death, despite his doctors warning against it.