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We would like to do that one better and state Link Wray is the biggest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snub - period.
You can read the article on Digital Journal HERE.
Check out the Easy Eye Sound Tour Mixtape here!
Today it’s official. The Rock Hall has failed - again - to induct Link Wray. After 34 straight years of induction ceremonies, Link Wray is still on the outside, looking in.
Take away Link’s contribution of intentional distortion and power chords from rock and roll. What’s left?
Pete Townshend, Neil Young, Dan Auerbach, Iggy Pop, Steven Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen, Jim James, Jimmy Page, and countless other “Rock Gods” have all said that they were influenced by Link Wray.
Link’s song Rumble - an instrumental - was banned for fear of inciting violence. (How much more “rock and roll” can you get?)
This Korean War veteran was the first Native American rocker to sell over a million copies of a rock and roll record with Rumble.
Link was featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibit on Native Americans in rock and roll in DC, New York, and Canada.
He’s one of only 50 rockers in the United States National Recording Registry housed in the Library of Congress.
And then there’s 2017. The Rumble documentary played in two dozen countries and won awards at Sundance, Hot Docs and a dozen others… national exposure in several commercials… Pitchfork declared Link Wray one of the best roots rock LPs ever… multiple re-issues selling out on Record Store Day… the upcoming biography… coverage in Rolling Stone on the release of the lost recording Son of Rumble…incredible words of support from rock and roll power-hitters Dan Auerbach, The Black Keys, Stevie Salas, Stevie and Maureen VanZandt, Michael Des Barres and Krist Novoselic… Link Wray’s profile had never been higher and I thought for sure this was his year.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
But, there are a few things I’m sure of …
- With the “… Knows” campaign on Twitter, the release of Son of Rumble, and the incredible support of Dan Auerbach for Link, I know there’s nothing more that could have done to get the wax out of the Rock Hall’s ears.
- People may not have known about Link Wray before, but they certainly know who Link Wray is now.
- 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for Link’s legacy. Rumble turns 60, Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound will release Son of Rumble on vinyl, THE FIRST MAN IN BLACK Link Wray biography is due, more unreleased Link Wray music is slated to be released and there’s even talk of a Link Wray movie…
- Link Wray was ahead of his time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will always be in his rear view mirror.
Link Wray Estate Spokesperson
American Music Historian
You can listen along when you click here.
The inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be announced the morning of December 13th. We are hopeful that when the 900 Rock Hall ballots are tallied, there is a 400 percent increase there too. Your support for Link is appreciated.
EASY EYE SOUND RELEASES “SON OF RUMBLE,” A NEVER BEFORE HEARD TRACK FROM THE LINK WRAY ARCHIVES!
“Link Wray was a huge influence on all modern rock guitar players. If they say he didn’t influence (them), they’re lying!” - Wayne Kramer, MC5
“Rumble had the power to help me say f*ck it,’ I’m going to be a musician.” - Iggy Pop
In 2018, it will have been 60 years since Link Wray released “Rumble,” and changed the face and sound of rock and roll forever. Dan Auerbach’s label, Easy Eye Sound, will 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. “Son of Rumble” is a never released track from the Link Wray archives, and you can listen to it here. The song, along with “Whole Lotta Talking,” another never heard track, will be released on a 7” vinyl at a later date, and can be pre-ordered here.
Link’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 Link Wray the only artist in history to have a banned instrumental. 33 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 5th 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 of Indigenous People on American Music. This film includes interviews with Dan Auerbach, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, Slash, Steven Tyler and other notable musicians. You can learn more and 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 worker named Hambone in the segregated south. In 1953, that boy became a Western Swing musician and 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, who 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 the follow-ups “Raw-Hide,” “Jack the Ripper,” “Ace of Spades” and many more) as their own.
a. Son of Rumble
b. Whole Lotta Talking
For more information on Link Wray, please contact Greg Laxton (LinkWray.email@example.com).
For more information on this release and Easy Eye Sound, please contact Mary Moyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Emilio Herce (email@example.com) at Q-Prime 212-302-9790
ORDER THE VINYL
WATCH THE VIDEO
Bring the story of Link Wray and RUMBLE into your classroom. Introduce your students to important Native American musicians! Be sure to check out the lesson “Link Wray, Rumble and Growing Up Shawnee Poor.”
If you are a teacher, know of a teacher, or want to take a cue from Link and DIY to a group of kids, head on over to Teach Rock!
THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME
“Link’s too good for that place.” “It’s too corporate…” “It should be called the Pop Music Hall of Fame.” Hey, I get it. Link was eligible for induction at the Rock Hall’s inception, 33 years ago. With each passing year, his omission is more glaring. Love it or hate it, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an honor. Link’s legacy deserves this, and it means the world to his family and fans.
THE FAN BALLOT
The “fan ballot” is comprised of the Top 5 vote-getters in the fan poll. At the time of this posting, Bon Jovi leads with over 660,000 votes, and a total of 2.4 million votes going to the Top Five.
The fan ballot is ONE Rock Hall ballot to be counted with the other 900 ballot holders, who are previous Rock Hall inductees and industry people. So, if one were to lobby and flip two of those ballot holders, the fan ballot is effectively null and void.
Today, Link’s first generation fans are pushing 80 years of age. Most are not going to be online. On the flip side, Bon Jovi’s first generation fans have smart phones and can easily vote daily.
Don’t put a lot of weight in the fan ballot.
THE INDUCTION PROCESS
The only “cut in stone” requirement for induction is that the artist must wait 25 years after their first release to become eligible for nomination. After that, it’s all subjective.
Let’s take a look at the categories for which Link qualifies.
This category honors bands or solo artists which demonstrate musical excellence. Includes, but is not limited to, influence on other performers or genres; length and depth of career and catalog; stylistic innovations; or superior technique and skills. LINK FITS.
These artists pre-date the birth of rock and roll, but have had a profound impact on the music’s evolution and its iconic artists. LINK FITS. We blogged about it last year.
THE AWARD FOR MUSICAL EXCELLENCE
Honors performers, songwriters and producers who have changed the course of music history. These artists have dedicated their lives to creating influential, important music infused with originality, and have achieved a level of timeless distinction. LINK FITS.
I used to say I’d like to see Link inducted as a Performer, but Early Influence would be okay too. However, after reading the criteria for the Musical Excellence category, I feel that Link would be honored to know that a group of industry folks and artists like him thought he changed the course of history with his music.
Link’s legacy is on a high like never before. This year, his music has been placed in national commercials. LPs, which were out of print for decades, enjoyed sold-out reissues. There’s a biography due out in a few months. And to cap it off, there’s the film “Rumble.” It played at sold-out screenings all over the world, won Sundance and a dozen other awards and is under consideration for an Oscar nomination next month. Not bad for a rocker who’s been gone a dozen years. There are a few more surprises in the works, and it is going to be a banner year for Link Wray.
But again, let’s not minimize the honor that being in the Rock Hall will bring Link and his family and his legacy. His is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s most glaring omission. But the Rock Hall can change that. Now, more than any time in the past two decades, this is Link’s year. - Greg
Before I left Florida, I hit my local shirt shop and found the loudest shirt in the place - neon green. It was so damn bright I thought it would glow in the dark. I had them print in big block letters: INDUCT LINK WRAY
I planned to get pictures everywhere I could, and blast them on Twitter and Facebook every chance I got. That idea ended up working better than I could have imagined. I tweeted a pic of me standing outside of the building in front of the Rock Hall sign and by the time I walked in the door, the Rock Hall had already re-tweeted it to their thousands of followers! A pic of the INDUCT LINK WRAY shirt AND the Link Wray website address!
It was impressive, very well laid out, and covered every genre of rock as well as pop and hip hop. The early “rockin’ country” artists (Hank Sr., Bob Wills) were relegated to the Early Influence area. They did have a nice display of early Les Paul guitars but unless I missed it, other than Les I found zero jazz... and I’m one of those “rock in my Rock Hall” guys, so that was OK with me.
There were interactive theaters, a 50 Years of Rolling Stone exhibit, an Elvis display, blah, blah, blah... But, that’s not why you are here. Let’s talk about LINK. Actually, thanks to the new GUITAR display, he looms pretty large at the Rock Hall!
On the third floor, the Rock Hall just put up a huge exhibit on the electric guitar, showcasing 15 guitars from notable players. I thought a big plus was that the display was NOT your standard Page, Beck, Clapton “rock gods” exhibit. There was a bit of that - guitars from Jerry Garcia, John Lennon, Billie Joe of Green Day - but the cool part was that the majority of the display was of guitarists the “average” Rock fan (i.e. a majority of the Fan Poll voters) may not have heard of. So there was an educational component there and kudos to the Rock Hall for that.
So what about Link?
The FIRST photo you see on the video screen is Link.
The FIRST sound clip you hear is RUMBLE.
There’s also a video display featuring Link in “The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.”
Do I have any criticisms? No, but I do have some suggestions…
- The display plaque has Link at #67 in Rolling Stone’s “Top 100” guitarists. On a later list, he was in the Top 50. But the “average rock fan” would never notice.
- The photo of Link used in the exhibit had him playing a different guitar than the one displayed. Videos and photos of other artists were of them using the actual guitar displayed. But the “average rock fan” would never notice.
- When I visited the Hall in 1993, the Inductee area was at the very top floor, with signatures of inductees etched in backlit glass in a pitch black room. It was very cool and had a lot of “wow” factor. Today, inductees are plaques on a wall. Nice, but not as “prestigious” as the earlier display.
- Finally, and most shocking... unless I missed it, there was ZERO information on the 2018 nominees to be found. Racks packed with brochures on the inductees and maps of the Rock Hall, but no flyers on voting for the 2018 nominees!
Almost forgot! About a half dozen of the employees of the Rock Hall said they liked the shirt and agreed it’s time for Link to get in.
All in all, recommended. I think the guitar exhibit runs for the next few months. Hopefully, they’ll expand Link’s artifacts on display, oh... maybe around April! - Greg
The award-winning documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World tells the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation is helping bring that story to American classrooms with five, standards-aligned RUMBLE lesson plans.
At the 2018 SXSWEdu conference in Austin, Texas, the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation will explore the educational possibilities of RUMBLE through a panel discussion featuring director/producer Catherine Bainbridge, producer Christina Fon, and Smithsonian Curator of Culture and the Arts John Troutman. Foundation Director Bill Carbone will lead panel members in discussions of their personal research, and use materials within the five TeachRock RUMBLE lesson plans to consider how footage of artists such as Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, and the Black Eyed Peas can empower Social Studies, ELA, History and teachers across disciplines to engage students in discussions of Native American life both past and present.
So watch the movie, then VOTE HERE for Link’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
After hearing about it on LinkWray.com the past few years, you can now buy or rent RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD starting TODAY on iTunes and Amazon!
Physical copies of the DVD are available on Amazon. You can RENT or BUY a download RIGHT NOW on iTunes or Amazon.
Make sure you leave a review, and VOTE FOR LINK to be inducted in Rock Hall 2018!
Then they announced Sister Rosetta Tharpe as a nominee as well, and my prediction went out the door because SRT and Link are both worthy Early Influence inductees.
Link making it into the Top 5 Fan poll will be difficult - he passed away a dozen years ago, and his “first generation fans” are all pushing 80. Bon Jovi’s first gen fans all have computers and smartphones. This year’s fan poll really says a lot on how much the voting “rock fans” really know - the most influential are near the bottom of the poll.
History shows only the #1 Fan vote getter has been inducted each year. #2 thru 5 have been passed over in years past.
And it’s true, a million Fan votes equals ONE ballot vote. Sway just two ballot holders, we have doubled the results of a million Fan votes.
BUT, if the press notices Link’s slow climb in the poll, I think it may sway a ballot holder or two. Everyone loves a good underdog story.
Right now we are running the RUMBLE DVD contest on Twitter where people have to post reasons why Link should be inducted. The Rock Hall has made Twitter “the place” for Rock Hall 2018, so we are hoping the extra Link posts there may sway a ballot holder or two (or a few dozen). There’s a couple other things in the works that, if they come together, should really blow your mind.
All that being said, after the year Link’s legacy has had, this year - more than any year - is his time for the Rock Hall.
1. TWEET why Link Wray should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
2. ENTER as many times as you like.
3. Link’s daughter Beth picks here Top Ten favorites on October 31st.
This campaign is being run on Twitter and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has made it “the” place to discuss #rockhall2018. So head over and enter! Then, vote for Link HERE. A very special thank you to Rumble Film, Rezolution Pictures and Kino Lorber for donating the DVDs for this contest.
Last night I’m on Facebook, and this comes across my Facebook feed. MY picture from ANOTHER company selling our COPYRIGHTED, estate authorized Link Wray shirts! Our design and our photos have been stolen. And if that wasn’t enough, Facebook got paid to spread this theft all over the world via a sponsored ad.
I have reported this to Facebook, the website teepro.org and their other website teechip.com. I’m waiting to see if they will do the right thing.
Your purchase of a heavy cotton, estate approved silk screened tee shirt from LinkWray.com/merch, guarantees ALL PROFITS go back into to the website, towards promoting the legacy of Link Wray.
Your purchase of an inferior quality, ink jet printed shirt on teepro.org guarantees your money will line the pockets of a thief.
Thank you everyone for your support. Greg
Vote LINK! #rockhall2018
SEE OUR MERCH PAGE to pick up this, and other exclusive Link Wray merchandise. All proceeds help cover domain name and website fees.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Native American. Korean War veteran. One lunged rocker. Changed the face of Rock and Roll. More than any artist this year - no one has done more for rock and roll than Link Wray.
CLICK HERE for the action plan to help Link’s chances for induction.
CLICK HERE to vote for Link Wray. You can vote once a day.
Today Link is one step closer to getting in the Rock Hall, but the man who gave rock and roll intentional distortion and the power chord is still on the outside looking in.
Link Wray was ahead of his time. It’s time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to catch up to Link Wray.
Link Wray’s self titled Polydor LP is named “the best new reissue” by Pitchfork! Read the review.
Another incredible web exclusive brought to you by RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD!
In preparation for the nationwide release this week, here is a shot of the Hard Rock Cafe marquee in Times Square New York City, featuring Link’s image.
CLICK HERE for the latest details on the screening locations of the Sundance and HotDocs award winning RUMBLE. Don’t be late because the film kicks off with Link’s story.
The fine folks at Light In The Attic Records will release this LP on vinyl July 21st! This is a faithful reproduction, including the original die-cut sleeve!
Quickly forgotten when it was released in 1971, this Link LP has become a sought-after classic. This record is like nothing Link ever did before, or since. Backwoods, gut-bucket country blues, it can be argued that this record kicked off the Americana genre.
Pre-order this gem here. Do it now, because there is an ultra limited edition of 400 LPs on YELLOW vinyl!
While you’re at it, you can order the follow-ups to this classic, BEANS AND FATBACK as well as MORDICAI JONES. Tell ‘em LinkWray.com sent ya!
GLENDALE CRUISE NIGHT
JULY 16, 2005
Death may be waiting in the wings but on Saturday night The Grim Reaper didn't even have a backstage pass. The "Godfather of Punk Guitar", Link Wray, was onstage front and center demonstrating the life saving qualities of the power chord, the whammy bar and gnarly "no effects" distortion. Rightfully staking claim as the O.G. of these musical potions of eternal youth, Link Wray raved on like a 16 year old as he slipped into "Rawhide". Even through his almost opaque sunglasses his defiant glare drove the pit crowd into a frenzy and his slinky, sexy power chords and lines stupefied the uninitiated. But the power wasn't just in the chords, it was also in the specter of this Rock and Roll survivor who makes Iggy Pop look like a mewling newborn. At 76 years old and as beaten up as a '37 Ford left out in the field, Link Wray made the understated slow-mo violence of "Rumble" as threatening now as when it was banned in 1958. Effortlessly keeping the fear alive, Wray tore through "Jack The Ripper", daring the audience to make something of it as only an old man can do who's veneration protects him from attack. Closing with a reprise of "Rumble", Wray finally threw his guitar down and began kicking it until he was led offstage. The guitar just lay there screaming, no one would go near it.