Link Wray

Per some list somewhere of desert island discs, we bought

Rumble, by Link Wray.

Whoasa. Link Wray was a mean ax slinger, back in the early days of Rock; before the Beatles, and before the Congressional hearings, when Rock was often subversive.
AllMusic says“

Link Wray may never get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but his contribution to the language of rockin' guitar would still be a major one, even if he had never walked into another studio after cutting ”Rumble.“ Quite simply, Link Wray invented the power chord, the major modus operandi of modern rock guitarists

I don't recall hearing of any other instrumentals that were banned.

Originally issued on Archie Bleyer's Cadence label back in 1958, Bleyer was ready to pass on [Rumble] when his daughter expressed excitement for the primitive instrumental, saying how it reminded her of the rumble scenes in West Side Story. Bleyer renamed it (what its original title was back then, if any, is now lost to the mists of time), and ”Rumble“ jumped to #16 on the national charts, despite the fact that it was banned from the radio in several markets (including New York City), becoming Link's signature tune to this day. But despite the success and notoriety of ”Rumble,“ it turned out to be Link's only release on Cadence.

Bleyer, under attack for putting out a record that was ”promoting teenage gang warfare,“ wanted to clean Link and the boys up a bit, sending them down to Nashville to cut their next session with the Everly Brothers' production team calling the shots. The Wrays didn't see it that way, so they immediately struck a deal with Epic Records. Link's follow-up to ”Rumble“ was the pounding, uptempo ”Rawhide.“ The Les Paul had been swapped for a Danelectro Longhorn model (with the longest neck ever manufactured on a production line guitar), its ”lipstick tube“ pickups making every note of Link's power chords sound like he was strumming with a tin can lid for a pick. The beat and sheer blister of it all was enough to get it up to #23 on the national charts, and every kid who wore a black leather jacket and owned a hot rod had to have it.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on February 17, 2005 2:57 PM.

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