The story of the only instrumental composition ever banned from radio

"He's the king! If it wasn't for Link Ray, I never would have picked up a guitar..."

We tell you about the most interesting instrumental song with a scandalous past

"Rumble." - a truly legendary composition 1958 of the year, whose dark past still provokes controversy and... ridicule among today's listeners. The fact is that it is the only instrumental work in the history of music that has been banned from the radio! Well, in the far 50's of the last century, the world was a different place... And people had a different attitude towards many things. Even though the song didn't have a single word in it, many radio stations thought it was bound to cause an uprising and revolt if it were aired.


Link Ray
Link Ray

The author of this masterpiece is Link Ray - The influential American guitarist and composer, who recorded mostly instrumental rock and roll songs. Ray was a great fan of jazz, and dreamed of creating his own style of music! By bringing it to the world. "Rumble."he inadvertently changed the face of rock forever and invented the most powerful, loud and pungent sounds you could hear at the time.

Mid-20th century was a rather difficult phase for Americans. While the more mature generation struggled to rebuild the country after World War II, the younger generation was fascinated by themes of independence and acceptance. The rise in juvenile delinquency was skyrocketing, and after the release of the movie "Schoolhouse Jungle," older residents came to believe that the younger generation was destroying social normality. It could be said that "Rumble." was in the wrong place at the wrong time, which got it banned from the radio. But if it hadn't come out then, rock history would have been completely different... Eventually, the banned song got a long life and revolutionized pop culture! It inspired not only artists who came after Ray, but also laid the groundwork for punk and heavy metal.

The song sounds like "an invitation to a duel..."

Link Ray
Link Ray

The track was banned from the radio in a number of cities because of fears that it would provoke riots. The reason for this is the cheeky sound of the guitar Ray's: It worried Americans, who were still recovering from World War II... Alas, Link's music did not fit in that era, an era of turmoil and high crime among young people. So, "Rumble." went down in history as the only instrumental composition ever banned from radio! Michael Molenda:

"Fifties rock was pretty clean... And all of a sudden this guy in a leather jacket shows up and plays this loud chord that practically rips your eyebrows off your face! It was extremely aggressive, but that's what paved the way for the next level of rock and roll..."

This song was first performed in January 1958 year. Ray and his band The Wraymen literally stunned the audience during a spontaneous interpretation... The drummer set the beat, Ray joined him with three chords, and his other brother and bandmate turned the mic into an amp! From memory Linka:

"The speakers are wheezing and I'm playing really hard... The teenagers are starting to crowd in, throwing themselves on stage... My brother Doug got off the drums and started laughing his ass off. He said: "You know, you played here all night and the teenagers weren't paying the slightest bit of attention, and now one tune is driving them crazy..."

Knowing how much this song influenced the music scene of the late 1950s, Michael Molenda sincerely envied those lucky people who were in the audience that night and could be the first to hear that great, distorted and ominous chord.

The secret of sound

Link Ray
Link Ray

Knowing that they have a potential hitRay and his band found a studio to record "Rumble.". However, when the band started playing, Ray realized that the sound was wrong:

"The sound was too clean-the amps were jumping up and down at the concert, burning with the power of the sound!"

At some point. Ray I couldn't take it anymore and ripped the cover off the amplifier:

"I started experimenting: making holes in the speakers with a pencil, trying to recreate the dirty, fuzzy sound I got on stage. And on the third time I succeeded!"

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix

After the song was released March 31, 1958Ray's sonic discovery became known as "Fuzz-Tone.". It has been adopted by many artists, including Jimi Hendrixwhich prominently demonstrated this influence in the «Foxy Lady».

"If it wasn't for Link Ray, I never would have picked up a guitar..."

Pete Townsend, 1979.
Pete Townsend, 1979.

Ray's bold sonic experiment impressed some and inspired others! Neil Young once said:

"If I could go back in time and see any band, it would be Link Wray & The Wraymen!"

Many other musicians, especially guitarists, unanimously supported this statement. Years before punk or metal began to spread, many aspiring music stars had heard "Rumble." and stated that it was this composition that changed their lives. These include. Jeff Beck, The Edge, Bruce Springsteen, Iggy Pop and even Jimmy Page!

"He's the king! If it wasn't for Link Ray, I never would have picked up a guitar...," Pete Townsend once said.

Personal tragedies that became an advantage

Link Ray
Link Ray

Because of an illness I had as a child Ray suffered from hearing problems for the rest of his life... Aside from that, the musician had only one lung: at the beginning of 50s Ray served in the army, where he fell ill with tuberculosis. In the fight for his life, the doctors did not have to think long...

He was advised to lead a quiet and measured life, but Ray I didn't want that:

"Ever since I've been on the operating table, I feel like I've been reborn - I've become a completely different person."

Link Ray
Link Ray

And in the end, Ray found a way to turn his physical ailments into unique musical style!

"I knew I couldn't sing because I had one lung, so I decided to play instrumental music..."

However, it was hearing problems that influenced musical evolution Ray's, making him develop the loudest sound he could hear!

"Thanks to Rumble, I realized that volume means everything to me..."

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

Link also admired Elvis PresleyAlthough he noted that his guitarist Scotty Moore plays "not loud enough.":

"Rock 'n' roll was brand new. Elvis brought it to the world," he recalled. "That's the way I wanted to go..."


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