Sunday, November 20, 2005

Father of the Power Chord

Reports on the Internet this morning tell of the passing of Link Wray at age 76.
If true, the news would mark the passing of a rock revolutionary, no doubt about it.
His raw style in the early 1960s paved the way for modern rock guitar and earned Wray the nickname, "Father of the Power Chord."
I have been listening to Link Wray and the Raymen (pictured) lately, as their track "Jack the Ripper" was named one of the "50 Greatest US Punk Tracks" by MOJO Magazine.
For fun, I tried to compile as many of the "Prehistoric Punks" tracks that MOJO listed as I could. Wray's "Jack the Ripper" from 1961 heads my 10-track playlist, which also includes seminal early punk songs by The Trashmen, The Sonics, The Count Five, ? and the Mysterians, The Seeds and others.
My favorite story about Wray, however, concerns his ground-breaking instrumental "Rumble." Some nervous American authorities in the early 60s actually banned this wordless song, because they feared the distortion-laden music itself might incite teenagers to violence. That's about as "punk rock" as you can get in my book.


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