Link Wray 1

One of the great guitarists from the golden age of rock instrumentals in the late 1950's and early 1960's, Link Wray (another North Carolinian) contracted tuberculosis while serving in the Korean War and lost a lung in the process.  Though he actually had a good singing voice and even had a brief stint as a teen idol under the name Ray Vernon, Wray mostly let his guitar do the talking.  He is credited with inventing the power chord (part of the basic language of modern rock guitar); and, together with his band the Ray Men, Link Wray scored hit songs like "Rumble", "Rawhide" and "Jack the Ripper" (which was given new life when it made the soundtrack for the remake of Breathless that starred Richard Gere).  His early albums and recordings are tough to locate, but I was able to order a reissue of his first album, Link Wray & the Wraymen and later found the two LP's that he made with the self-styled bad boy of rockabilly Robert Gordon, whom he backed in the late 1970's.  More recently, I bought a 1979 solo album called Bullshot that features a wonderful cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue".
(June 2011)
Last edited: March 22, 2021