“Miserlou” is the song that made Dick Dale the most memorable one hit wonder that there ever was.
Hello my fellow kilSters!! Welcome to another work week (fear not, in five days it will be Friday!) For this edition of Got You Cover’d Monday, I wanted to showcase a cover song that’s very close to my heart. “Miserlou“. If the name is familiar to you, then you most likely are Quentin Tarantino fans and you probably remember “Miserlou” as the song that opened up Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. “Miserlou” is the song that made Dick Dale the most memorable one hit wonder that there ever was. It was because of Dick Dale that the song became as popular as it did.
… for those people who believe that The Black Eyed Peas could do no wrong, you need to hear this song and then let me know if The Black Eyed Peas are still all that and a bag of chips in your eyes.
Thanks to Dick Dale, “Miserlou” been covered by The Beach Boys and The Ventures respectively. More recently, “Miserlou” was sampled by The Black Eyed Peas for their track, “Pump It” (side note: for those people who believe that The Black Eyed Peas could do no wrong, you need to hear this song and then let me know if The Black Eyed Peas are still all that and a bag of chips in your eyes. It’s just terrible what they did. Unforgivable!)
*Gasp* What?! I know, right, but it’s true.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Why, if this is Got You Cover’d Monday does he keep coming back to Dick Dale? Why not highlight the best cover version of Dick Dale’s song?” Simple. It’s not Dick Dale’s song. *Gasp* What?! I know, right, but it’s true. “Miserlou” is a Greek rembetiko song. As to who composed the song, that is quite difficult to pinpoint, but the first person to record the song was Tetos Demetriades way back in 1927 (and that’s exactly 35 years before Dick Dale and his Deltones 1962 surf rock version of the song.)
Dick Dale’s version of “Miserlou” will reign forever as one of the most popular instrumentals of all time.
The story as to how Dick Dale came about to record his fantastic version of the song is quite interesting. Apparently, during one of Dick’s shows, a fan bet Dick Dale that he couldn’t play an entire song on one string. Little did the fan know that Dick Dale, who has Lebanese blood flowing through his veins, had an uncle who used to play “Miserlou” on a oud (a Middle Eastern pear shaped stringed instrument.) The song as his uncle had played it for Dick, was played using only one string from the oud. There you have it. That’s how Dick Dale wound up becoming a one hit wonder. Who knows? Dick Dale could’ve had a promising career had it not been for this one fan, but alas, Dale, being the gambling man that he is, sealed his fate and his legacy in one fell swoop. Not a bad deal if you ask me. Dick Dale’s version of “Miserlou” will reign forever as one of the most popular instrumentals of all time. It’s been 52 years since Dick Dale recorded “Miserlou“, so yeah, I think that I’ve been proven right. Also, thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s vast taste in all music, one cannot help but think about “Miserlou” without making the connection with Pulp Fiction, and lest we forget, it was because of Tarantino’s use of the song that Dick Dale came back into our musical consciousness. What are you waiting for folks? Dust off your copy of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, press play and get lost in the eternally cool guitar licks of Dick Dale’s version of “Miserlou“.