LINK WRAY

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's most glaring omission

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LINK & ROCK HALL 2018 - THE VIEW FROM HERE

With just a little over three weeks until voting closes for the 2018 Rock Hall nominees, I thought I’d take a moment to give you the view from here, and address some points that have been voiced on Twitter, the Link Wray Fan Group on Facebook, and emails we’ve received at LinkWray.com.

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.

PERFORMER

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.

EARLY INFLUENCE

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


LinkWray.com VISITS THE ROCK HALL

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With Link being a 2018 Rock Hall nominee, LinkWray.com decided to pay a visit to the hallowed Hall. Here’s our report.

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!

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But onto the Hall...
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?

Link Wray, guitar, Stratocaster, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The FIRST guitar you see in this display is a black Fender that Link used on one of his last tours.
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

LINK WRAY 101

RUMBLE-card
Wow! The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and TeachRock.org will have a lesson plan taught in schools featuring Link Wray! From the TeachRock.org press release:

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.