When a Dunn native’s guitar struck terror in hearts of cities

“[The documentary] ‘Rumble’ takes its name from a seminal slice of rock ’n’ roll created by guitarist Link Wray, a Shawnee Indian from [Dunn] North Carolina. A 1958 hit, Rumble introduced the world to the ‘power chord.’ The song was banned in New York and Boston for fear that the mere sound of that amped-up guitar might incite riots. ‘Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck used to play air guitar to Rumble,’ [executive producer Stevie] Salas said. ‘But when I told Jeff that Link was Indian, his jaw dropped.’

” ‘When Link Wray was a boy, the grand wizard of the KKK made a deliberate attempt to go after indigenous people,’ [director Catherine ] Bainbridge said. ‘When his mom was 10 years old and walking to school, a bunch of white girls surrounded her and broke her back. She wore a brace for the rest of her life. That’s the violence Link came out of.’ ”

— From ” ‘Buried history’: unearthing the influence of Native Americans on rock ‘n’ roll” by Jim Farber in the Guardian (July 19)

David Menconi wants to know why Link Wray isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Me too!

 

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