Arts & Entertainment
Famed guitarist Link Wray, Shawnee, dies as 76

Guitarist Link Wray, a Shawnee whose style of guitar playing and unique sound influenced generations of artists, died in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 5. He was 76.

Wray grew up in North Carolina. He started on the guitar at the age of 8 and went on to play with some of the most popular artists of the 1940s and 1950s. He became famous in his own right in 1958 for "Rumble," an instrumental hit, and "Rawhide," another hit from 1959. In 1966, he recorded the "Batman" theme and had a slew of hit records in the 1960s.

Wray was called the father of the "power chord" for his playing style on "Rumble" and the sound he elicited after sticking a pencil in the amplifier. "Without the power chord, punk rock and heavy metal would not exist," Dan Del Fiorentino, the historian for the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California, told The Los Angeles Times. Famous guitarists like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Pete Townshend of the Who and Neil Young said they were influenced by Wray.

Wray served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He contracted tuberculosis, which required the removal of one of his lungs.

Wray moved to Denmark in 1978, where he lived with his wife, a Denmark citizen, and their son. He was buried in Copenhagen on November 18.

Get the Story:
Prophet of the Rock Guitar (The Washington Post 11/22)
Link Wray, 76; Rebel Guitarist's Power Chord in 'Rumble' Started Rock Music on Its Journey to Punk and Heavy Metal (The Los Angeles Times 11/22)
Guitar master Link Wray, writer of 'Rawhide' and 'Rumble,' dies (AP 11/22)
Guitarist Link Wray Dies (Rolling Stone 11/21)

Relevant Links:
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