Skip to main content

Beach Boys' founding guitarist: How Dick Dale's 'Surfers' Choice' changed our sound

"We wanted to sound big like him," says David Marks

Dick Dale’s influence on rock music is immeasurable. His 1961 instrumental “Let’s Go Trippin” basically started the surf music craze — and people have made the argument that the 45 rpm record also marked the emergence of the first real rock and roll guitar god.

Dale’s distinct Fender Strat-wielding style and sunbaked SoCal vibes inspired so many artists that would, in turn, go on to become absolute pillars of rock and roll music and culture. Among those fans is an original founding member of The Beach Boys, guitarist David Marks.

When we talked to Marks about the 10 albums that have shaped him as a person and an artist, he picked Dale’s 1962 debut full-length, Surfers' Choice.

Below, Marks talks about the profound impact Dale had on him and The Beach Boys.

Dick Dale influenced our sound,” says Marks. “We wanted to sound big like him. We didn’t sound like him musically, although we tried, but we got our Fender equipment based on what he used to try to emulate that Dick Dale wall of sound. In the early days of The Beach Boys, we didn’t have that many original songs so we filled our sets with covers and we did just about all the songs on Surfer’s Choice. We even recorded a few on the Surfin’ USA album.