So it happened this way: I was really into the Who as a youngster in the mid-1960s, and I came across a quote from Pete Townshend stating, "He is the king. If it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I would have never picked up a guitar."
Well, that got my attention.
And when I finally heard Link doing "Rumble" and "Jack the Ripper" and "Batman" and even "Run, Chicken, Run," I was floored. Such a fierce noise! This man had a punk attitude almost 20 years before the Ramones and the Sex Pistols.
It was also inspirational — at least to me — that Link recorded, performed, and toured into his 70s, until dying peacefully of heart failure at his home in Copenhagen, Denmark, at 76 years old on November 5, 2005. I saw him for the last time at a club concert at Slim's, San Francisco, on July 2005. He was a bit frail by then, but his guitar sounded as rude and angry and beautiful as ever. Such a young heart.
Now, Eastwood Guitars is honoring Link Wray with a tribute guitar. Gotta love that. To see more, click here.
For a demo of the Eastwood Link Wray Tribute, see below...
To see the man in action, here's a 1998 clip from The Conan O'Brien Show...