Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Original Rumble...The Story of Link Wray....Show # 288

Link Wray was an American guitarist that was originally born in Dunn, North Carolina as Frederick Lincoln Wray. His family would later relocate to Virginia. Link served in the US Army and was a veteran of the Korean War. During the Korean War Link got tuberculoses causing him to lose one of his lungs, the doctors said that he would never sing again, but they were wrong. While this was a huge reason for Link to focus on instrumental guitar based songs, Link would sing occasionally on some of his songs. By the end of 1955, Wray had relocated to Washington, D.C.

After playing in various combinations of bands involving his brothers, the band Link Wray and His Ray Men emerged. The band consisted of Link Wray on lead guitar, Doug Wray on drums, Vernon Wray was on lead vocals, and Shorty Horton on Bass. Originally starting out playing Country and Western Swing music, Link would begin to focus on instrumental based songs. In late 1958, Link Wray wrote the instrumental song "Rumble". Originally called "Oddball", this song is notable for its enormous influence on Rock music. Being the first song to use a power chord, distortion, and feedback it was banned from radio stations because they thought that the title promoted gang violence in teens. "Rumble" is also the only instrumental song to be banned from radio airwaves.  This song influenced bands such as The Kinks, The Who, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Marc Bolan, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and more. "Rumble" was a favourite amongst live audiences often being played several times in one night due to the demand for it.

The band would sign a deal with Epic Records (previously being on Cadence). The next single that was released was the Surf and Hard Rock song "Raw Hide". A notable difference about this song was the fact that Link Wray switched guitars from his 1953 Gibson Les Paul to a Danelectro Longhorn guitar. The lipstick pick ups of the Danelectro added a blistering sound to Link Wray and His Wray Men. After several attempts by the bands label to make Link Wray into a mainstream artist involving the band with numerous different kinds of producers, Link Wray and his Wray Men were no longer on Epic Records. Instead of looking for another label, Link and Vernon Wray created their own label titled Rumble Records. The bands next release was "Jack the Ripper". The band was then picked up by Swan Records. A family chicken coop was turned into a recording studio and Link Wray spent more than a decade recording and experimenting with different kinds of musical styles. He recorded several albums including Link Wray in 1971, that incorporated elements of Folk, Blues, and Country, and Beans and Fatback in 1973.

In the 70's Link Wray was part of Robert Gordon's backing band, Gordon being a Rockabilly revivalist. He recorded two albums with Gordon, Robert Gordon w/Link Wray (1978) and Fresh Fish Special (1978). In the 1980's Link Wray got married and moved to Denmark. He recorded the odd album off and on and toured intermittently. Several of Link's songs were featured in films. He has had songs in films such as "Shadowman", "Twelve Monkey's", "Pulp Fiction", "Desperado", "The Warriors", and "Independence Day". Another important aspect of Link Wray was his Native American heritage. Being part Shawnee Indian, Link wrote several songs such "Shawnee", "Apache", and "Comanche". He also spoke of his ancestry in interviews and during live shows.

Link Wray passed away in Copenhagen on November 5th, 2005. In concert a tribute was done by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, they both played the song "Rumble" respectively. There is currently a petition going around the internet to get Link Wray inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He for some reason has not been inducted despite his vast influence in the world of Rock music. However, tt should be noted that he is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Link Wray's music often blurred the line between Rock, Surf, Folk, Blues, and many other genres and styles. Link Wray has recorded numerous albums and singles and is known as being a highly influential, innovative musician, and the father of the power chord. Link Wray paved the way for Hard Rock and Punk Rock, the sounds of "Rumble" will forever resonate throughout the world of Rock music.

Surf Play List:

1. The Beans - Surfs Up
2. The Ventures - Surf Rider
3. The Fireballs - Bulldog 
4. The Rotations - Heavies 
5. Huevos Rancheros -Gump Worsley's Lament
6. Aqua Velvets - Guitar Noir
7. Spring Break Shark Attack! - Theme
8. Phono-Comb - Burnt Down With Feedback
9. Tiki Tones - Twister
10. Kon Tikis - 1000 Foot Wave
11. Surf Messiahs - Kilgore
12. Surf Trio -Beach Genius
13. The Torpedos - The Snake
14. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Zombie Compromise
15. Atomic 7 - Loving Not Gouging
16. The Wipeouters - Luna Goona Park 
17. Dean Drouilard - The Dragon
18. April March - Chick Habit 
19. The Mad 3 - Spy From Kyoto
20. The Cavliers - Le Ride Du Jugement Dernier
21. The Squiers - Mustang
22. The Surfdusters - The Reef 
23. Teisco Del Rey - Pier Pressure 
24. The Phantom Surfers - Banzai Run 
25. Dick Dale & His Del-Tones - Surf Beat
26. Link Wray - I'm Branded
27. Link Wray - Raw-Hide

If you are looking for this program you may want to check the comments section.


Papsito said...

hello.. which song is it on the 34:00 minute?

btw the compilation is amazing!

thank you

Dave said...


The song at 34:00 is by a Canadian surf band called the Surf Messiahs. The song is called Kilgore. More information can be found on their myspace page:


Thanks for listening.


Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It is unexpectedness!