Link Wray | Artist

Link Wray | Artist

Tags: Era_1960s, Gender_Male, Genre_Rockabilly, Origin_USA, Type_Artist

Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray Jr. was an American guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist born 1929 in Dunn, North Carolina. Wray initially became popular in the late 1950s, for the distorted electric guitar sound of his early records and the 1958 instrumental hit "Rumble" which was his first single. Wray's mother Lillian Mae Wray (née Coats) was of Shawnee origins, and Wray played numerous songs during his career, named for Indigenous peoples including "Shawnee", "Apache" and "Comanche." Wray served with the US Army in the Korean War, and upon returning home he put together his band Link Wray & His Ray Men comprising Link (vocals, guitar), his brothers Vernon (guitar) and Doug (drums), together with Brantley "Shorty" Horton (bass), Dixie Neal (steel guitar), Ed Cynar (bass) and John Van Horn (guitar). After several early albums and a clutch of Singles on major labels Epic and Swan, Wray tired of the corporate music industry and set up his own three-track studio he converted from an outbuilding on his brother's property in Accokeek, Maryland, where his father used to raise chickens. It was in this primitive studio that Wray was to record his most enduring solo works, including the albums Link Wray (1971) and Beans and Fatback (1973). In the late 1970s Wray hooked up with retro-rockabilly artist Robert Gordon, who was previously singer with punk rock band Tuff Darts. The duo toured extensively and recorded two excellent albums; Robert Gordon and Link Wray (1977) and Fresh Fish Special (1978), plus several live albums. In all, Wray released sixteen solo and 'Ray Men' albums, with standouts including Link Wray & the Ray Men (1960), Jack the Ripper (1963), Link Wray (1971), Beans and Fatback (1973), Bullshot (1979), Apache (1990), Live at the Paradiso (1980), and the aforementioned duos with Robert Gordon. Link Wray's recordings straddled country and rockabilly in the 1950s, surf and garage rock in the 1960s, swamp rock and country rock in the early 1970s and hard rock in the late 1970s and onward. Wray is credited with inventing the 'power chord' and according to AllMusic's Cub Koda, Wray's instrumental recordings starting with "Rumble" laid the blueprints for "heavy metal, thrash, you name it."

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Featured Albums: Link Wray

Related Artists: Vernon Wray, Robert Gordon, The Wraymen

Video Clips: Rumble, Rawhide, Red Hot

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