Sunday, November 20, 2005

RIP Link Wray

Sad news about a guitar pioneer from a Spanish publication (translated into English): ""The guitarist Link Wray, considered one of the pioneers of the American rock in the decade of the years 50 and cult figure, passed away at the age of 76 in Copenhagen, where lived since two decades ago, reported today the newspaper 'Politiken'."

A few years ago, during a SXSW panel about lyrics, one of the songs played was "Rumble." It was argued that Wray's classic instrumental, specifically his distorted guitar sound has a lyricism and language of its own. After the song was played, writer Ed Ward noted that it wasn't the version that he and others knew and loved. The original he remembered (from 1957) had a blaring, almost obscene sound to it, that just plain frightened people. Such was the power of Wray's playing and a testament to how he changed the vocabulary of his instrument.


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