Link Wray

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Link Wray (2005)

Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray Jr. (born May 2, 1929 in Dunn , North Carolina , † November 5, 2005 in Copenhagen , Denmark ) was an American guitarist . He became world famous with the instrumental piece Rumble , with which his band Link Wray & His Ray Men reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958 . The name (German: Aufruhr) and the rough appearance of the piece led to its boycott on some radio stations - an unusual measure for instrumental music .

life and work

Link Wray grew up in the US state of Arizona . It was there at the age of eight that he heard a slide guitar for the first time from a black player named "Hambone". His family later moved to suburbs in Washington DC. He took part in the Korean War, where he contracted tuberculosis and lost a lung. Since he was unable to sing for a longer period of time, he specialized in instrumental pieces. Wray and his brothers Doug and Vernon had been playing country- style western swing for a number of years when they signed on as the house band at Milt Grant's House Party, the Washington version of the American bandstand . There they accompanied many artists, including Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson . When they tried an arrangement for The Stroll by The Diamonds , they developed the powerful Blues Rumble, which they called Oddball at the time . The piece was immediately well received by the live audience, so that up to four encores were required in the evening.

Eventually the producer Archie Bleyer of the record label Cadence Records became aware of the title. Bleyer didn't like the piece, but his daughter liked the number that reminded her of the musical Westside Story , which is why she renamed it. Rumble became a huge hit not only in the United States, but also in Great Britain, where it influenced many bands such as the Yardbirds and The Who . The Who guitarist Pete Townshend wrote “He is the king; he is the king; if it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble', I would have never picked up a guitar ” . Guitarist Neil Young was quoted as saying " If I could go back in time and see any band, it would be Link Wray and the Raymen."

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the band was able to land several hard instrumental hits, including Rawhide, Ace of Spades and Jack the Ripper, but without reaching the top 20 of the charts again. Since then, Wray's career has been in constant ups and downs, phases of retreat alternating with new popularity, especially in Europe. He toured with Robert Gordon and recorded some retro rockabilly- style albums . With the band Dieselhed from San Francisco he went on tour under his own name.

His music has been used in many films such as Desperado , Independence Day , 12 Monkeys , Blow and Pink Flamingos . His pieces of music, which can be heard in the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction , together with the music by Dick Dale also used there, led to a surf music revival in the 1990s.

Link Wray had Native American ancestors from the Shawnee people . Three of its titles are named for Native American tribes: Shawnee , Apache, and Comanche . His brother Vernon Aubrey Wray, five years his senior, was also a musician; he performed under the names Lucky Wray and Ray Vernon.

In 2011, the Rolling Stone listed Wray 45th of the 100 best guitarists of all time . In a list from 2003 he was ranked 67th.

Individual evidence

  1. Rockabilly Hall of Fame (English)
  2. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 18, 2015, accessed August 8, 2017 .
  3. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time - David Fricke's Picks. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 8, 2017 .

Web links