Can We Talk About Link Wray for a Second?
This is a little off-topic for a motoring website but if you’re a fan of music, history, or general coolness this story needs to be told.
Link Wray is currently one of the nominees for the 2018 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. The fact that he isn’t a Hall Famer already is a crime against rock history. If you’ve never heard Link Wray you’ve certainly heard his music. Link Wray is the original Rock n Roller: the inventor of the Power Cord, the pioneer of distortion, and inspiration to some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, and the first Native American rock star.
Now he is on a ballot next to Jon Bon Jovi and LL Cool J. Not saying that’s bad, but it’s certainly not good.
Anyone who knows his impact on music can agree that he should have been inducted into the hall of fame decades ago. I’m writing this article to as a sort of campaign speech to encourage everyone to vote for him.
Life of Wray
Link Wray was born in Dunn, North Carolina, on May 2, 1929. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War where he lost a lung to tuberculous. The doctors said that would never be able to sing, so what did Link Wray do when he came back to the states? Start a rock band of course, “Link Wray & His Ray Men”.
In 1958, Link Wray released “Rumble” which was his first hit when it sold for over a million copies that year. An iconic song that everyone has heard but many don’t know who or where it came from. Its an instrumental that just sounds like pure rebellion against the norm. It makes “Bad to the Bone” sound like a lullaby.
The song was so ahead of its time that it was banned from the radio waves in New York and Boston out of fear that it would provoke gang violence. To this date Rumble is still the only instrumental to ever be banned from radio.
Being a rebel, he quickly grew tired of dealing with the corporate music industry and decided to make his own three track studio out of an old shed on his brother’s property. A shed where Link Wray’s father use to raise chickens.
Link Wray’s Legacy
The first time I discovered Link Wray was by watching a Robert Rodriguez film from 1994 called Road Racers, starring David Arquette, Salma Hayek, and John Hawkes. Link Wray’s music has been included in films and television shows like Pulp Fiction, Blow, The Sopranos, Independence Day, and Desperado to name a few. His music has inspired many artists to pick up a guitar.
Steven Van Zandt
Rock the Vote
If that’s not enough of a reason to convince people to induct Link Wray into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame then I honestly don’t know what will. Although he was a nominee in 2013 he is still hasn’t been inducted. Link Wray was even ranked 45 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Voting is still going on. You can vote once a day. If you know the music of Wray then vote. If you don’t then listen to it… and then vote. Even if Rock n Roll and Rockabilly isn’t you’re cup of tea, vote for the sake of history. It’s time the original Rock n Roll Rebel got the recognition he earned. Cast your Vote Here.
Next article will return to regular motoring rants and reviews. Thanks for reading!