Were there Arabian motifs in California surf music? UK blogger Mick Hartley suggests that there were. He post this video of Dick Dale playing “Misirlou”:

along with an extended discussion that begins:

It seems too strange to digest at first, that “Misirlou,” Dale’s most widely recognized tune, is based on an Arabic-language song, or that a number of his surf music classics have a distinctively Arabic sound. After all, what speaks more purely of that all-American California lifestyle than the high-energy, good-natured twang of surf music? Yet, in the portentous chords of Jan and Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve” and in some of the early Beach Boys music – when they are not borrowing from Chuck Berry – the discerning ear can pick up not only the sounds of California beach communities, but a tantalizing hint of Beirut, Lebanon, Damascus, Syria, and Cairo, Egypt.