Link Wray, KISS, Nirvana and the R&R Hall of Fame

In order to be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you need to be at least 25 years into your recording career.
Nirvana (a shoo-in if ever there was one) cut their first single in 1988 so this marks their first year of eligibilty. But guitar legend Link Wray recorded The Rumble in 1958.
Why isn’t he in already?
Here’s the full list of potential inductees in the spring of 2014 – Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Nirvana, Link Wray, the Replacements, Linda Ronstadt, Yes, the Zombies, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, KISS, LL Cool J, N.W.A., the Meters and Cat Stevens.
I’m pulling for Deep Purple, KISS and Link Wray, all long overdue.
From what I’ve read about the HOF, the main criteria isn’t the quality of the music or the level of popularity…it’s influence.
Along with the King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale, Wray pretty much invented hard rock guitar playing as we know it. Pete Townsend, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page have all cited Wray as a major influence on their guitar styles. The groups they played in (among others)….the Who, the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin…are all in the hall.
When The Rumble was released, it came with distortion (created when Wray deliberately punctured his speaker cone with a pencil) and the introduction of the power chord…the foundation of hard rock and punk guitar.
So, during the past 20 years, HOF voters have decided the Ramones, the Clash and the Sex Pistols were all influential in their own right without recognizing the pioneer?
And if you want to talk lasting influence, watch Pulp Fiction again. Quentin Tarantino seeks out the coolest songs for his soundtracks and Wray’s instrumentals are featured prominently throughout the film. The Rumble is in there and, if I recall, it plays when John Travolta’s and Uma Thurman’s characters are seated in the ’50s diner.
So, I’m hoping next April that Link Wray (who died in 2005) will be inducted by Dave Grohl. Just kidding. I love Dave but it seems like he’s the go-to guy for every rock ceremony that shows up on television.
No, I want to see Pete Townsend telling us all how much Link Wray meant to him…and playing The Rumble during the ceremony.
Likely with Grohl playing drums.

About johnnymaraca

host of Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot, the rockingest show on the radio. 60 years of rockin' rhythm and blues, from the late '40s pioneers like Louis Jordan to Elvis, Chuck Berry, CCR, Stray Cats, Ramones and tons more. Friday and Saturday nights at 7 on 97.7 the Beach, listen live at http://977thebeach.ca, and WRSG in Middlebourne, West Virginia, Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
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