Link Wray, rockabilly legend, passes at 76

Rebel guitarist’s power chord in ‘Rumble’ started rock music on its journey to punk and heavy metalLink Wray

The legendary three-chord riff that Wray used in "Rumble," his signature tune and biggest seller, has reverberated down through the decades.

"Without the power chord, punk rock and heavy metal would not exist," Dan Del Fiorentino, historian for the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.

From an AP article from 2002 quoted on Rockabilly Hall of Fame

The power chord. Distortion. The raw and the rumble. The man in black at midnight. A wall of noises, never-ending riffs, the echo of the whammy bar. This is Link Wray. Frederick Lincoln Wray Jr., the 73-year-old Shawnee Indian, a pioneer of punk and heavy metal, or just that dirty guitar sound.

In passing, it’s startling how many forms of American music; rock and roll, jazz, blues, country, gospel, bluegrass and rockabilly, were born in the South.

"Street-corner singing", doo-wop, soul, and hip hop, of course, had their start in the urban North.

  • Sad news. The entire music community is sad to see him go.

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