He played a key role on the emergence of Punk and Hard Rock
The influential guitarist Link Wray was born 91 years ago
Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray, Jr was born in Dunn, North Carolina on May 2, 1928. A Native American, Wray is one of the most influential electric guitar players of all time. He is credited as the creator of the original electric guitar distortion sound when in 1958 his instrumental hit “Rumble” popularized “the power chord that shaped the modern Rock music, Wray gave this way the first step to the emergence of Garage, Punk, and Hard Rock. “Rumble”, was banned in New York and Boston for fear it would incite teenage gang violence. The record was first released on Cadence Records as by “Link Wray & His Ray Men”. Over the years, Wray begun to grow tired of the corporate music companies and after stints with Epic and Swan, he decided to produce his own records. Wray always remain faithful to his primary musical style consisting of rock and roll, rockabilly, and instrumental rock. During the 1960’s he formed bands and side projects with the new West Coast Rock bands and musicians such as the guitarist from Quiksilver Messenger Service, John Cipollina. Link Wray kept his career active until the end of his life, earning new generations of fans, that transformed him into a cult artist. Wray died of heart failure at his home in Copenhagen, at the age of 76 in 2005. His legacy lives through many musicians that claim Wray as one of their major influences, including Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend.
Watch Link Wray performing his 1958 signature song “Rumble” Live at the Winterland, San Francisco, 1974
Listen to the compilation “The Best of Link Wray” on Spotify
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