The 30 Most Badass Guitarists of All Time
Players whose talents, attitude and style have made the guitar the coolest instrument ever.
Born May 2, 1929 (died November 5, 2005)
Band Link Wray and the Ray Men, Robert Gordon
Iconic Guitar Supro Dual Tone
Coolest Riff "Run Chicken Run" — Rumble: The Best of Link Wray
Back in 1958, most guitarists and guitar amp designers tried to avoid distortion. Not Link Wray. When he recorded his instrumental “Rumble,” Wray poked holes in the tweeters of his Premier Model 71 amp to make it sound even more nasty and distorted than it could on its own.
A direct line can be drawn from “Rumble” to “My Generation,” “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The song is often credited as the origin of the power chord, but it also heralded the transformation of rock from the music of youth to the soundtrack of juvenile delinquency. Several radio stations banned “Rumble” because they thought it was too sexy, raunchy and violent. Wray even dressed like a juvenile delinquent, embellishing his greasy black pompadour with a leather jacket, jeans and shades at a time when most white rock and rollers still took fashion cues from Perry Como and Bing Crosby.
Wray kept the hits coming through the Sixties, issuing singles like “Jack the Ripper,” “Ace of Spades,” the manic “Run Chicken Run,” the appropriately titled “The Fuzz” and the coolest version of the Batman theme ever. Wray rocked hard until the end, playing his last gig only four months before he passed away at the age of 76.
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