Link Wray Paved the Way
Link Wray Paved the Way
A Great Guest Post by Elana Kluner!
Rockabilly Hall of Fame’s leading legend, Link Wray, has been the reason why many following musicians ever made music in the first place. Although he’s never made it to the Rock and Roll hall of fame, Rolling Stone magazine considered him as one of the hundred greatest guitarists of all time. Link Wray’s music stood on the fine line between menace and soulful, as he became the father of punk and heavy rock. This left his fans feelings excited, uneasy, and/or inspired. Whether he was strumming strings, writing songs, or using his one lung he had left to sing, Link Wray always left a lasting impression. His fame grew in the USA and travelled all the way through Europe and Australia. Along with his band Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Hands, Link Wray will always be remembered for his huge hit that had a life of its own; Rumble.
Rumble, formally known as Oddball, was re-named by Phil Everly in 1958. He felt that the empowering instrumental had a rough attitude and reflected a street gang. Link Wray wrote the song for a live performance on the TV show Milt Grant’s House Party. The lucky audience who got to listen to the song for the first time that night grew such a liking for it that they demanded a repeat. One encore turned into four, which quickly let to a flash flood of record sales. Shortly after, the more conservative citizens disagreed with the song’s title and it’s rebellious sound, leading it to be banned by numerous radio stations throughout the USA. But this did not stop Link Wray’s dedicated fans. The morphed electronic guitar sounds found its way to the hearts of Great Britain’s music lovers and climbed to the top of the charts.
Link Wray was best known for his invention of the Power Chord. This created a distorted sound which was enhanced by his advanced technique. Link Wray was so determined to pay tribute to this sound, that he actually punched holes in the amplifiers so he could replicate the sound of his live performance. Two examples of his stylistic additions to music were overdrive and fuzz. Many famous artists that came after Link Wray copied his unique structure and integrated it into their own musical developments. Principle Guitarist and songwriter of The Who, Pete Townshend, noted that “He is the king; if it hadn’t been for Link Wray and ‘Rumble’, I would have never picked up a guitar”. Link Wray’s skill, music and way of life were truly a Rockabilly Phenomenon and will never be forgotten.
Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray Jr (May 2, 1929–November 5, 2005) RIP
And as usual you can find Link Wray Music here or at Amazon.Com