I HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING a lot of attention to Quora lately, but this question caused me to respond; “Will Link Wray ever make the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?” Wray had one seminal hit, Rumble, in 1958 that Cub Koda stated popularized “popularized “the power chord, the major modus operandi of modern rock guitarists.” My answer was short and, I believe, apt:
“The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should have at least three means of entry:
• as an artist
• as an influence
• for a record
Whether or not Link belongs in the Hall as an Artist is debatable; that he was an influence and that Rumble belongs in the Hall as a record are not.
But that would have required that the people responsible for the Hall of Fame think things through.
PS: In 2018, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame introduced a new category for songs, which—while a step in some kind of right direction—certainly wasn’t what I suggested above.”
PS: Wray only ever had one more Top 40 hit, Raw-Hide. This record was released in January 1959, the same month that the television series Rawhide debuted on CBS. It ran for eight seasons and featured a young actor who would grow up to have a dubious political career. Wray’s record was not connected to the show in any manner.
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page accompanied “Today in Music History: Honoring Link Wray” on The Current website (November 5, 2014). That article wrote: “Today in 2005, guitarist Link Wray died aged 76. Wray was credited with inventing fuzz guitar after punching a hole in a speaker giving him a distorted guitar sound. He was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October 2013. His song Rumble was also associated with juvenile delinquency and banned by a number of radio stations during its day.”
4 thoughts on “does link wray belong in the rock & roll hall of fame?”
I have given up on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — they don’t know real rock & roll when they hear it. In the early ’80s, I told people that someday Donnie and Marie would be in the R&RHOF and sadly this will eventually happen while real R&R artists like Link Wray will be shoved aside.
Thanks for the comment!
I’m thinking of starting my own rock & roll hall of fame! Probably need to write an article about it first, maybe get both of my regular readers to hop on board!
If you want to read a fascinating book on how halls of fame are run, check out Bill James’s The Politics of Glory: How Baseball’s Hall of Fame Really Works. Of course, it helps to have both some interest and some knowledge of baseball but they are not necessary. James addresses all the problems the original Hall of Fame made (none of which should have been duplicated by any other Hall of Fame that followed but were).
The book was revised and reissued as Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?: Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory but either edition works fine as a background for how such Halls of Fame function.
Keep on keepin’ on!
PS: While I doubt Donnie and Marie will make it, at this point, I also doubt Wray will, either.
When you start the real R&R Hall of Fame, I think we both know who the first inductee should be: the man who had more of an influence on R&R than any other artist, past or present.
I already have the first few years of inductees planned out. My big problem is that it will be hard as hell to have a proper induction ceremony and dinner as almost all of the inductees are dead.