Link Wray / May 2, 1929 - Nov 5, 2005

The great Shawnee rocker Link Wray invented the power chord and helped set off the hard rock revolution, influencing punk, thrash & heavy metal with his 1958 hit "Rumble" spawning the future headbanger generation.

He made his first record in '55, before heading to Korea with the Army. He got tuberculosis and spent a year in the hospital. A lung was removed and he was told he'd never sing again (they were wrong). So he started working out instrumentals and made several records, some of which were recorded in a makeshift studio in a chicken shack (often in partnership with his brothers).

The North Carolina-born guitarist used distortion on his rockabilly sound and became a sensation with teenagers in the late '50s. His recording of "Rumble", a tune originally improvised on the spot at a Washington DC record-hop, faced a radio ban in some cities as authorities feared the song would turn teens violent. Of course, that sensation attracted the youth to his radical sound.

After several attempts by labels to "clean" up his sound (recording with orchestras, etc) the Wray Brothers formed their own Rumble Records to release a few titles. He formed a band in San Francisco with Quicksilver's John Cipollina and also had a cult classic self-titled album in '71 for Polydor. In the later '70s he played in Robert Gordon's band. By the time the '80s rolled around he had moved to Scandinavia, sporadically releasing records and performing at his own desire, staying semi-active until his death. His influence is massive. Pete Townshend: "If it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I never would have picked up a guitar."

And here's a l'il bonus for y'all:

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