The Guitarist who played the Most important D-Chord in History
I think it’s fitting that we begin the profiles of other Guitarists , By Talking about the Man who created the sound we now know as Modern Rock Guitar. He played the Most important D Chord in history ,because when you hear the simple but effective chord progression D D E…you just hear Link Wrays’ intro to “Rumble” which launched a thousand bands.
Power Chords,Fuzzy Amps Banned Instrumentals and Playing Live Till His Death
The Power Chord and the Fuzz of a broken amp speaker, helped along by Link by taking the pencil and stabbing the speaker with more holes Laid the foundation for everyone thereafter. 1958 brought Rumble and a handful of other instrumentals that ultimately sold a million singles and “Rumble”s menacing sound actually brought it to be the first instrumental to ever be Banned from radio for fear of inciting the violence of films like “Westside Story”. These times he was also one of the first to use the Vibrato on his amp to full effect, opening another sonic innovation. Link Wray performed live right up to his death in 2005 and I was lucky enough to see him and interact twice in a matter of 2 years.
You really didn’t meet Link Wray, as when he stepped on the stage it was more like encountering a Tiger, even in his 70’s he was quick with a smile or if you disrespected him you should have known better as you might have been introduced to a Switch Blade, this was confirmed by a drummer I spoke within the year 2000 who was on the road with Link.
Sonically in his early days, he would use many Danelectro guitars and as years passed he would use the original second Version of a Gibson Les Paul which was later renamed the Gibson SG. He eventually acquired a 60’s Yamaha SG2 which was modified into his Beloved “Screaming Red” guitar complete with an Indian chief’s Headdress painted on the Pickguard.
He in later years would turn the speaker Cabinet for his Marshall half-stack backward away from the audience. Why? Well in true Rock N Roll Fashion it was turned up as loud as it could go and shook the walls.
By 2002 he retired “Red ” from the road and played a couple of Fender Stratocasters.
Link Wray never rested and got complacent, he didn’t just go out and perform the classic catalogue of songs. His last few albums such as “Shadowman” and “Barbed Wire” were as important of any work he did.
Let’s face it head-on. He changed the course of Modern guitar. He stood tall as an innovator as Edison’s electric lighting. For reasons unclear, he’s only posthumously been nominated for inclusion and quickly NOT inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of fame. An institution I would personally dare say he Built hands down by influencing everyone who ever heard him.
Jimmy Page in the film “it might Get Loud” is speaking the Truth of Link Wray.
Many others included in the film “Rumble..The Indians who Rocked the world” sing his praises. Pete Townsend has gone as far as to say had there been no Link he probably would have never picked up the guitar.
I found him a Gentleman, a force of nature, and a True Living Legend and he’s meant the world to me personally. I have reached out and been in touch with his Daughter and Joe Chambers in Nashville who is CEO of the Musician’s Hall of fame. Joe is another fine Man and has been receptive to the idea. So if you wish to join the effort please approach Joe Chambers with respect. It is unclear to me what it will take to Get Link to the Rock Hall of fame in Cleveland, but I know there are thousands of us who are not giving up.
remembering Link Wray as the Key Innovator of modern rock music
The Electric guitar in the Hands of Link Wray was a weapon of Joyous anarchy and Rebellion, and a tool of Creativity. He altered my life in a significant personal way…and if you play an electric guitar he has altered yours whether you know it or not. He is the Cornerstone of the building. He is the, as a naked Keith Moon screamed as he hugged Link and spun around in circles. “THEE RUMBLE MAN!”
Remembering Link Wray NPR Documentry
Brass Ring of the Rock Hall for Link Wray
This is an article I wrote about link Wray and why he should be inducted to the rock hall of fame on another website. If you would like to read more about link Wray however in the meantime why not give us your thoughts on link wrays music here in the comments.