Link Wray may not be a major Blues player, but in 1958 he took the dirty sound of distorted electric Blues guitar and came up with the ‘power chord’ that a new generation of guitarists incorporated into their music in the 60s to give us ‘Blues Rock’. Like many pioneers, Link took a simple idea and exploited it to open up a whole new world of possibilities. He created an ominous, brooding guitar tone that has become a common feature in our collective consciousness due to its use in many films and TV shows. He composed some of the most iconic tunes of the 20th Century and had a later career as a Rockabilly star.
The original version of ‘Rumble’;
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Link followed ‘Rumble’ with a stream of strong instrumentals like ‘Rawhide’, ‘Jack the Ripper’, ‘Shawnee’ and ‘Comanche’. That guitar sound had a deep effect on many British bands who were using the vocabulary of the Blues and R&B to power their own Blues Boom. Link had a strong and loyal following in Europe from that time onwards, and that affection was a factor in him spending a large part of his life there. In the mid-60s, Link ‘retired’ and moved to Arizona, but he popped up again on the San Francisco scene in the early 70s, playing around the Bay Area and singing in a rough tone. Link toured and recorded a couple of albums with retro-Rockabilly star Robert Gordon as well as releasing his own albums like ‘Bullshot’ and ‘Stuck in Gear’. Link married a Danish lady, Olive, and they moved to her homeland in the 80s, using it as a base for European touring and occasional trips to the USA, until he passed away in Copenhagen in 2005.
[stextbox id=”custom” caption=”Link Wray Discography” float=”true” align=”left” width=”300″]If you think you haven’t heard any Link Wray- you’re wrong! This stuff is all over the movies and TV, and very influential in Rock’n’Roll, Blues Rock, Heavy Metal and Surf music.
RUMBLE! THE BEST OF LINK WRAY
[/stextbox]Link is remembered as a pioneering guitarist, whose booming sound and powerful sustained chords permeated Rock’n’Roll, Metal, hard rock, surf music and even punk. Modern guitarists like Jimmy Page, Jack White and Joe Bonamassa have incorporated elements of that distinctive sound into their music and the whole world recognises that sense of tension and anticipation when a Link Wray riff turns up on a soundtrack. Perhaps he is the Master of the Eleven-and-a-half bar Blues!