Link Wray life and biography

Link Wray picture, image, poster

Link Wray biography

Date of birth : 1929-05-02
Date of death : 2005-11-05
Birthplace : Dunn, North Carolina, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2012-01-12
Credited as : Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, rock 'n' roll music

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Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray Jr was an American rock and roll guitarist, songwriter and occasional singer.
Wray was noted for pioneering a new sound for electric guitars, as exemplified in his hit 1958 instrumental "Rumble", by Link Wray and his Ray Men, which pioneered an overdriven, distorted electric guitar sound.

He also "invented the power chord, the major modus operandi of modern rock guitarist," "and in doing so fathering," or making possible, "punk and heavy rock". Rolling Stone included Link at number 67 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Wray was born in Dunn, North Carolina to Lillie M. Coats and Frederick Lincoln Wray. It was there that Link first heard slide guitar at age eight from a traveling carnival worker, an African-American man named “Hambone.” Wray was a veteran of the Korean war, where he contracted tuberculosis that ultimately cost him a lung. His doctors told him that he would never sing again. So Link concentrated on his heavy guitar work. Despite this, on his rare vocal numbers he displays a strong voice and a range equivalent to Clarence “Frogman” Henry.

Part Shawnee Indian, Wray frequently spoke of his ancestry in performances and interviews. Three of the songs he performed bear the names of American Indian tribes: “Shawnee”, “Apache”, and “Comanche.” “Apache” was an instrumental composed by Jerry Lordan, which became a hit in the UK for The Shadows in 1960.

Wray recorded one of the better covers of the song 30 years later, somehow finding new life in this mythic, minor-key, guitar/drum dialogue which by then was also associated with everyone from The Ventures to The Incredible Bongo Band.

His music has been featured in numerous films, including Pulp Fiction, Desperado, Independence Day, Twelve Monkeys, The Warriors, This Boy's Life, Blow, Johnny Suede, The Shadow, Breathless, Roadracers, and Pink Flamingos. His instrumental "Rumble" is featured in It Might Get Loud (2008).

Link Wray is among the many Wray/Rays mentioned in the 1998 Top 40 hit "Are You Jimmy Ray?" by singer Jimmy Ray (along with Johnnie Ray and Fay Wray).

Wray moved to Denmark in the 1980s after marrying his wife Olive, a Danish student who had been studying Native American culture. He spent his last years on a Danish island, touring frequently until he died of heart failure at 76 in 2005 at his home in Copenhagen.

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