Skip to Main Content

Link Wray: Home

Link Wray was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the Musical Influence category in 2023.

Link Wray

During rock and roll's first decade, Link Wray pioneered the use of reverberating power chords and raw distortion—best heard in his 1958 instrumental hit “Rumble”—a song so startling it was largely banned for fear it would incite juvenile violence.

Legions of rock guitarists on every continent testify that the biggest bang of all was the first time they heard “Rumble” by Link Wray (1929-2005), a dangerous slab of reverberating power chords and raw distortion laid down in 1958. In the summer of “Purple People Eater,” “Witch Doctor,” and “Patricia,” the rebellious sonic onslaught of “Rumble” cut through Top 40 radio like a steamroller. This was more than a decade before power chords even had a name; a decade after that, in the heat of the punk era, Wray’s collaboration with Robert Gordon left every retro-rockabilly guitarslinger in the dust. More at

Link Wray promo photo Link Wray promo photo Link Wray poster Link Wray promo photo Link Wray promo photo
Click on image for source information

Archival Resources

Listed below are notable collections and items from the Rock Hall's Archives. You can find more by searching our catalog here



Spotify Playlist

Rock's Backpages Articles

Free articles are available on Rock's Back Pages through the Free on RBP link. The articles below may require you to be on-site at the Library & Archives in order to read them.


Influence & Legacy

Link Wray was influenced by...

  • Lead Belly
  • Elmore James
  • Chet Atkins

Link Wray inspired people like...

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Library & Archives
2809 Woodland Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.515.1956 |