May 01, 2012

Link Wray and his Ray Men - Rumble (1958)

This man is responsible for pioneering the distorted noise made by electric guitars heard in nearly all rock music. He has the honored title of being the inventor of the “power chord” and thus making punk rock and heavy rock music possible. As part Shawnee Indian, he frequently incorporated his heritage into his performances and song titles. Unfortunately, he passed away from heart failure in 2005 at the age of seventy-six.

Originally titled “Oddball,” this song marks the defining moment where distortion and feedback became popular in rock and roll music. It’s said to be the first song to ever use the “power chord” and was banned in several regions because the guitar’s harsh noises “glorified juvenile delinquency.” Censors also weren’t fond of the title, which was a slang term for a gang fight. Despite its censoring, the song climbed to number sixteen in the charts and eventually made an impact all the way over in Britain, where groups like The Kinks and The Who have cited it as a large influence. To sum it up, Bob Dylan called it “the best instrumental ever.”

album art

Link Wray and his Ray Men - Rumble (1958)

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