Link Wray, RIP

"Father of the the power chord." Who knows?

But Link Wray was certainly one of the first electric guitarists to make tone and rhythmic swing the be-all and end-all of his playing. His approach formed -- and still forms -- a basic building block of this thing we call rock n roll.

Besides, how cool is it to get an instrumental banned by radio stations? Happened with Wray's "Rumble."

Rumble on, Link.

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    Saw him on his last(?) tour three years ago. I've seen Dick Dale his last five times through new england, but Link blew him away.
    His version of the Batman theme is still my fave.

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    Sad to hear, as Wray was a gifted artist. The best Robert Gordon could do was to ride his coattails.

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    I think the first fuzz guitar recorded was Grady Martin playing through a malfunctioning amp on Marty Robbins' "Don't Worry About Me," not that you would call what he played 'power chords.' That was something like 1954 if I remember correctly. This doesn't really have much to do with Link Wray except anytime they play "Rumble" on the radio around here they always say it was the first fuzz guitar ever recorded.

    Who knows, it wouldn't surprise me if Les Paul had some recording in his vaults of him experimenting with distortion. With tube amps and speaker cones made out of paper it was probably inevitable that someone would use that kind of sound at some point. I wonder what music would sound like today if it had been someone like Django Rhinehart who did it first.

  • Ed||

    I thought Black & Decker was the father of the power cord.

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    Rumble stopped me dead in my tracks first time I heard it. And Rawhide is the second-best rock and roll instrumental of all time, surpassed only by Dick Dale And Stevie Ray Vaughan's version of Pipeline.

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    The Marty Robbins record with Grady Martin didn't happen until 1960. As big a Django fan as I am, I think he lost a lot of his style when he went electric, quite happy he never discovered distortion.

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    This sucks. Link Wray was another performer I had intended to see live on tour. I missed him in Cleveland at least once or twice, but I'd always reassure myself that I might still have another chance and that I wouldn't miss the show the next time he tours my area. Guess it really doesn't pay to procrastinate.

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    "Rumble" was a great song, perhaps the best "mood piece" ever done in the early days of rock and roll. Wray was a true master of the form.

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    Also, it should be noted that Mr. Wray is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which kind of shows how full of crap that thing is.

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    Post for post, I think Ed is probably the funniest poster here. This would be more noticeable if he posted more often.

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    Thanks for the date correction, Gwyn. I always thought that record was from the early '50s because it sounds so much like the stuff Robbins was doing back then.

    I still have to wonder what might have happened in music had people with more sophisticated ideas about music than most rock musicians (say, beboppers) taken to using distortion first.

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    Also, it should be noted that Mr. Wray is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which kind of shows how full of crap that thing is.

    Hear, hear. All you really need to know about the R&RHOF is that Link Wray ain't in it, but Jackson Browne is...

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    Happy to oblige, Doug. I don't think jazz musicians would have done much with the technology, most I've met have no interest in changing their sound. I remember seeing Max Roach getting cheered for abandoning an early electronic drum set at a clinic, and Eddie Harris' excursions with the electric sax sound pretty flatulent in retrospect. The basic attitude seems to be close to what Buddy Rich said on those famous underground tapes--let's see what kind of musician you are-without all the assistance.

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    Is this a good time to give Frank Zappa credit for having an entire instumental album banned?

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    Eryk,

    Any time is a good time to give Frank Zappa credit.

    Hear, hear. All you really need to know about the R&RHOF is that Link Wray ain't in it, but Jackson Browne is...

    ...or that they've had exhibitions featuring clothes from Buttney Spears and N' Stink at a time when Black Sabbath wasn't inducted. In fact, I'm not even sure at this point if they were ever inducted. I stopped paying attention.

    Whenever someone from out of town tells me they're going to visit the Rock Hall, I inadvertantly chuckle.

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