For most of the pop music world, Dick Dale is arguably one of the most important musicians that few have ever heard of.

Dale, who died Saturday at 81, was a electric guitarists whose distorted, percussive sound influenced many who followed, such as Stevie Ray Vaughn.

But more to the point, Dick Dale was the inventor of "the surfing sound."

In the late fifties, when Brian Wilson and his future bandmates were still schoolboys, Dale was packing fans into clubs and ballrooms around Southern California.

He played loud and he played hard.

As the L.A. Times notes, Dale was himself a surfer, part of the early generation of waveriders who took to the California beaches in the years after World War II.

Inspired by the adrenaline rush of the waves, he sought to channel that energy on stage. The result was the distinctive electric sound that younger surfers embraced.

Dale and his band, the DelTones, scored a number of regional hits, most notably a rocking remake of the Middle-Eastern folk song Miserlou, which later became legendary for its use on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

Dick Dale is survived by his wife and adult son.

[Source: Los Angeles Times]