Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wray "The Real Man In Black" - Fredericksburg offered up fertile spot for rock's roots: "'The Real Man In Black,'"

Pete Townshend of The Who has been quoted as saying of Wray: "He is the king. If it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I would never have picked up a guitar."

And Neil Young has said, "If I could go back in time and see just one band, it would be Link Wray and His Ray Men."

Others influenced by "Rumble" include Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and Jeff Beck.

Johnny Cash emulated the tough-guy image of Wray--who was half Shawnee--by dressing in black, as he did.

To this day, Wray fans insist he was "The Real Man In Black," not Cash. During a clean-cut, squeaky-clean era, he dressed in black leather jackets, wore sunglasses at night and smoked cigarettes onstage.

"He was very influential because he did something different and he did it with a bit of an attitude," Del Fiorentino said. "Most people could relate to that, I think."

Few remember that guitar legend Link Wray, who died Nov. 5 at 76, was inspired to record his seminal instrumental 1958 song "Rumble" by a request during a dance in Fredericksburg.

The primal sound called the power chord was introduced by "Rumble," and it has echoed for 47 years, influencing generations of rock guitarists.

The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles probably would never have been heard from if it were not for that night in Fredericksburg, said Dan Del Fiorentino, historian for the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, Calif.

Link Wray pioneered the power chord at a Fredericksburg dance.

"Without the power chord, punk rock and heavy metal would not exist," he told The Free Lance-Star.

All hail to the power chord :) and thank you Link Wray!

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