A Guy Named “Link”

1929.  Imagine being born into a dirt-poor Shawnee family in North Carolina in the first year of the Great Depression.

Imagine getting sent away to fight in Korea at the age of 21, where you manage to contract tuberculosis.

Imagine having a lung removed in your 20s, and being told that you will never sing again, after believing that singing in a band was your one ticket out of grinding poverty.

Imagine saying “Fine, I’ll just have to play guitar so good, it won’t matter if I’m singing or not”.

1958.  Imagine single-handedly inventing the intentional use of feedback and distortion by punching holes in a guitar amp, and recording an electric guitar instrumental so dirty that it becomes the only instrumental piece in history to be banned from radio play, for fear that it might “incite violence”.

Imagine being the guy who made Pete Townsend and Jimmy Page pick up a guitar, or being the guy with the look copied by Elvis.

Imagine being the only guy in history who makes chewing bubblegum while playing guitar look genuinely menacing.

Imagine being Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray.



Video: Link Wray performing “Rumble” in 1974


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