In 2018, it will have been 60 years since legendary guitarist Link Wray released his influential instrumental song "Rumble," and changed the face and sound of rock and roll forever. Easy Eye Sound is proud to release "Son of Rumble," Link's intended but never released follow-up to the song that introduced the world to power chords and intentional distortion. Said Dan Auerbach of Wray's importance: "I saw him play in Cleveland at the Grog shop and he blew my mind. To get the chance to put out unreleased songs on Easy Eye is amazing and a dream I never thought was possible. It's time we give Link Wray a statue on the top of the rock and roll of fame." "Son of Rumble" is a never-released track from the Link Wray archives. The song, along with b-side "Whole Lotta Talking," another never heard track, will be released as a 7" vinyl.
Link Wray's "Rumble" became a flash point for countless musicians including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Steven Van Zandt, Jeff Beck and Elvis Costello. The song was banned in New York, Boston, and Detroit, for fear it would incite juvenile violence, making Wray the only artist in history to have a banned instrumental. Thirty-three years after becoming eligible, this unsung hero of rock and roll is currently a Rock Hall nominee for the Class of 2018, and fans can vote for his inclusion with a daily ballot through December 5 here.
Link Wray is one of the featured artists in the Sundance award winning RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, a documentary about the profound, essential, and indelible impact Indigenous people have had on American music. The film includes interviews with Dan Auerbach, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, Slash, Steven Tyler, and other notable musicians; watch the film’s trailer here.
The story of Link Wray sounds like something straight out of a Hollywood movie. In 1937, a boy from the Shawnee Indian tribe was taught guitar by an African American traveling carny named Hambone in the segregated south. In 1953, that boy became a Western Swing musician who played the wake of Hank Williams. By 1956, he was a Korean War Veteran who lost a lung to TB and was told he'd never sing again. Yet, Link Wray spent the next half-century as the only one-lung singer in rock and roll, and laid the foundation for what the genre would become. The impact of Link Wray, placed in the top 50 of Rolling Stone's Top 100 Guitarists of All Time, can be heard in generations of American and British metal, punk, garage, grunge, thrash, and psychobilly rockers, all of whom have claimed him and "Rumble" (and follow-ups "Raw-Hide," "Jack The Ripper," "Ace of Spades," and many more) as their own.