A Nod to Link Wray on the Man’s Birthday
Link Wray, whose name one routinely sees referenced, has a birthday today, May 2nd. Born on May 2nd 1929, the man would have been 92. He sadly passed in 2005. I have heard the name many times and kind of sort of know who he was. You see and read the likes of Iggy Pop, Pete Townsend, Neil Young, and many others acknowledge the man.
Born in 1929, he was at it from the late fifties till the eighties. It was in 1958 that he offered up his instrumental “Rumble”, which popularized “the power chord”. That in itself is pretty neat. Rock would be a very different animal without such. Listen, however to the below “White Lightning: Lost cadence sessions 58” YouTube clip and realize there is more going on here than just the power chord. And that was done in 1958.
He continued into the sixties and beyond. He went onto to provide the theme song for the kitsch Batman TV-series featuring Adam West, Cesar Romero and the like. That was most likely my first exposure to his music, through that show. When I was like five. In the late 70s he toured with a young Robert Gordon. In the 80s, his band apparently included Anton Fig of Letterman Late Show fame.
So in short, fifty plus years of some pretty cool music. There was the rockabilly, the instrumental, and even some country. Then there is the power chord, and I imagine with that the explorations into things such as amplification, distortion and just sound in general. Again, the two tunes of his that you most certainly have heard, the Batman TV theme and Rumble follow below along with a 1958 instrumental session.
As I said above, I have heard his name name routinely. Thanks to a post by Jon Paris in Facebook, acknowledging the man, his music and his birthday, I kind of got inspired to dig a little bit and connect some dots resulting in this quick post here.
Enjoy and rock on.
For more on Link Wray, do check out MYSTIC CHORDS, which focuses on three later albums Wray recorded away from the commercial recording studios and the like.