RIP Link Wray
Legendary Guitarist Link Wray Dead at 76
Matthew Solarski reports:
The man responsible for popularizing the now-ubiquitous power chord,
legendary guitarist Link Wray, passed away at his home in Copenhagen,
Denmark on November 5. He was 76 years old.
Wray is perhaps best known for his convention-shattering rock
instrumental "Rumble", which landed in the U.S. Top 20 in 1958 despite
being banned in several radio markets for its violent evocations. A
banned instrumental? How's that for punk rock?
An icon to icons, Wray's legacy stretches far and wide, with everyone
from Bob Dylan, David Bowie, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Neil
Young, and Jerry Garcia to John Kerry's high school band citing the
guitarist as an influence. The Who's Pete Townsend went so far as to
claim he would "have never picked up a guitar" if it weren't for Wray.
The loss is no doubt deeply felt; Dylan opened a recent London show
with his rendition of "Rumble", and other high-profile tributes will
surely follow. Fact is, your fledgling garage band is probably steeped
in the man's influence.
Three-quarters Shawnee Indian, the prolific Wray pioneered a raucous
guitar-playing style that would echo down the decades, through rock,
punk, and heavy metal. Revered for his formidable live show, Wray had
continued to tour extensively over the years. He wrapped up a lengthy
U.S. tour this July. Wray's official website attributes his cause of
death to heart failure.
Despite being named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest
guitarists of all time, Link Wray has not yet been inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Wray leaves behind his Danish-born wife Olive, who was his manager and
frequently drummed at his live gigs, as well as their son Oliver. He
will be missed.
* Link Wray: www.linkwraylegend.com