Link Wray was the original punk, the inventor of the power chord, and the architect of a sound that laid the foundation for metal, punk, and every genre that relies on raw, untamed noise to to convey its message. Every young rebel who has donned a leather jacket and slashed away at an electric guitar with loud, distorted abandon owes a significant debt to Wray.
HALL OF FAME ESSAY
It’s as simple as this. There was rock & roll guitar before “Rumble” – the fleet, country picking and blues intonation of Scotty Moore at Sun Records for Elvis Presley; the jubilant precedent in Chuck Berry’s chugging twang and spikes of treble; Cliff Gallup’s stabbing poise and slashing precision with Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps. But then there’s everything that happened after “Rumble,” Link Wray’s seismic 1958 single, the most influential and enduring rock-guitar instrumental of all time: the serial revolutions in riffing, distortion, and
power chords; the cycle of thrills in garage rock, psychedelia, heavy metal, and punk; the full six-string alphabet of mayhem from AC/DC to ZZ Top.
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