Watch Jeff Beck Perform “Rumble” in New Fender Video
The guitarist plays the Link Wray classic and recalls hearing it for the first time
During his decades-long career, Link Wray put out numerous praiseworthy records, though he is best known for his 1958 hit, Link Wray & His Ray Men’s “Rumble.”
Often cited as a missing link between blues and hard rock, this dark, brooding electric guitar instrumental was banned in certain U.S. markets because of the title’s slang reference to violence.
Naturally, this only served to promote interest in “Rumble” as it ascended the charts.
Described by Bob Dylan as “the best instrumental ever,” the single was eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (opens in new tab) in 2018.
A simple, three-chord instrumental, “Rumble” came together in a flash during an impromptu stage request in 1957 when Wray and the band were asked to perform a popular rockabilly dance of the time known as a ‘stroll.’
Although Wray was immediately put on the spot and unsure how to proceed, inspiration struck and he began to improvise the now iconic Dsus2/E riff.
Spiced up with a cheeky B7 and a descending E minor pentatonic lick, “Rumble” became an instant classic.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, a young guitar player by the name of Jeff Beck was taking note.
And in Fender’s latest YouTube video, the guitarist recalls the first time he heard “Rumble” on the radio.
“My sister and I used to listen to Armed Forces Network,” says Beck, “and we heard the only source of American rock ‘n’ roll at the time, and I remember ‘Rumble.’
“My sister also introduced me to Jimmy Page – one of the first things he played me was that, because it was so simple to play. And, ironically, we’re still playing it – the same three chords.”
Beck is then seen performing a cover of the late ‘50s classic, “Rumble,” using the new American Vintage II 1957 Stratocaster in Sea Foam Green finish.
Priced $2,099.99, the new Fender American Vintage 1957 Stratocaster is available to order directly from Fender here (opens in new tab) in a choice of three nitrocellulose finishes, namely Sea Foam Green, 2-Color Sunburst and Vintage Blonde.
Featuring a “V”-shape neck with a 7.25” radius maple fingerboard, the American Vintage II 1957 Stratocaster reproduces the feel of the original rare guitars, while a trio of Pure Vintage '57 Stratocaster pickups provides authentic tone.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab), Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.