Why is Dick Dale and His Del-Tones’ Greatest Hits on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
The energy of punk music, the feeling of up tempo ska, but it’s very much its own thing that evokes the breakneck freedom of surfing waves, conquering some uncharted territory.
What does Dick Dale and His Del-Tones’ Greatest Hits mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I was vaguely aware of Dick Dale as “the surf guitar” guy before having ever seen Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
It’s really fun to go back and revisit the opening scene of Pulp Fiction and imagine seeing it (and imagine an entire generation of movie fans seeing it) for the first time. Characters that we only hear referred to as Pumpkin and Honey Bunny decide – seemingly out of nowhere – to rob a very normal-seeming diner that they are eating at. They passionately kiss over their decision, then guns come out, and the sweet if off kilter Honey Bunny starts screaming about executing people if any patrons of the restaurant move, while dropping some World Class Cusses in the process.
The frame freezes, we see “Miramax Films Presents,” and then we cut to an opening credits sequence as Dick Dale and His Del-Tones’ “Misirlou” comes in red hot over the top.
It’s one of the most exhilarating, strange, shocking, and funny opening scenes in movie history, and “Misirlou” is the rocket fuel that sends Pulp Fiction into orbit. I get chills when watching it even now.
On theme with “Misirlou” meshing with other things to create a greater whole, Black Eyed Peas expertly uses the surf guitar tune as a spectacular backdrop for “Pump It,” one of my most favorite BEP songs.
And that’s not to take anything away from “Misirlou” itself, which stands up completely on its own.
I think I love it because it has the energy of punk music, the feeling of up tempo ska, but its very much its own thing that really does evoke the breakneck freedom, surfing waves, conquering some uncharted territory.
“The Wedge” is similar to “Misirlou” in some respects, yet very much stands on its own, especially with its more nuanced dynamics and cool chord changes.
“Those Memories of You” is a fun departure, a du wop-ish with a really pretty and melancholy melody.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Dick Dale and His Del-Tones’ Greatest Hits
One of my favorite parts of an outstanding documentary, It Might Get Loud, about three legendary musicians (Jimmy Paige, Jack White, and U2’s The Edge) is a scene in which Paige listens to the 1962 surf rock song, “Rumble,” by Link Wray.
It’s a great song, and you hear and understand it in a brand new way through watching Jimmy Paige experience it. Paige, arguably the greatest guitarist of all time (a worthy and nerdy debate, though I’d have no problem handing Paige the crown myself) has a look of pure joy and engagement on his face listening to “Rumble.” It’s so pure and organic.
You get the sense that while Paige has accumulated massive material riches due to his participation in Led Zeppelin and other musical projects, this is what truly makes him happy: the joyful simplicity of playing a great 1962 surf rock song. And, sure, doing it from within the comfort of your mansion certainly doesn’t hurt, I’m sure.
Some stats & info about Dick Dale and His Del-Tones – Greatest Hits 1961-1976
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock, Rock Music, Surf Rock, Surf Revival
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Dick Dale and His Del-Tones’ Greatest Hits released?
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #927 out of 1,000
Dick Dale and His Del-Tones’ Greatest Hits on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.