"The first king really of serious guitar abuse." (25 March 1995 (BFBS))
Link Wray (1929-2005) was an American rock'n'roll guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. Born in North Carolina, he was half Shawnee Indian and referred to his upbringing frequently in his songs and interviews. His achievements with and without his backing band, the Wraymen, are for the most part instrumental, since Wray had a lung removed pursuant to contracting tuberculosis during his service in the Korean War. In fact, his main claim to fame is Rumble (1958), which features a murderously heavy riff that allegedly inspired Jimmy Page, Neil Young, Iggy Pop and Pete Townshend, among many others. The title was allegedly supplied by Phil Everly, who said it sounded like a street fight. It has frequently been cited as an influence on punk and heavy metal, and his website claims it was the first song to intentionally use distortion in a rock'n'roll recording (although it is really a blues piece).
Wray recorded infrequently over the years, latterly in a studio self-made from a chicken shack. In the early 1970s, he was introduced to guitarist John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service) and formed a band featuring him as a special guest. Wray was married several times, had eight children and ended his life in Copenhagen. Peel obviously respected the man's pioneering spirit, while also noting that not all of his material was at such an exalted level. After succumbing to a BFBS listener's request to play Link's 1966 version of the Batman theme, John commented:
"There are times, you know, when I think Link Wray should have just recorded Rumble and then disappeared without a trace." 
The following year, in the course of a piece on his hero Duane Eddy, John used Wray as an example of an artist who should accept that his talent lay elsewhere than in the vocal field:
"In the 1970s Link, hitherto a guitar/bass/drums sort of chap, was encouraged to sing and eventually get into guitar heroics of the most morbid type. The recorded results were pretty beastly and I had Link marked down as one of those artists who do not themselves fully understand what it is they do that is so good. But in 1989 someone from Ace Records persuaded Link Wray into Pathway Studios, London, to record tracks for an LP himself and left the vocal mike locked in the cupboard for all but two of the ten tracks. The result should bring a healthy glow to the cheeks of anyone interested in the survival of the rock 'n' roll instrumental. 'Apache' is by no means flawless - but who wants flawless? 'Flawless' means Eric Clapton." 
Nonetheless, he played Wray's material with reasonable frequency and praised Ace Of Spades (no relation) for its perfect simplicity.  Peel saw him with Robert Gordon at Pinkpop in 1978, Rumble headed the Peelenium 1958 choices and Kat's Karavan attempted to record the man for a session, but allegedly could not find a studio in time. 
Festive Fifty Entries
- 'Rumble' (Peelenium 1958)
Other Shows Played
- 28 August 1971: Juke Box Mama
- 25 February 1972: 'Son Of A Simple Man (LP-Mordicai Jones)' pseudonym for Wray's piano/mandolin player Bobby Howard
- 12 April 1973: 'I'm Branded (7")' (Swan)
- 01 March 1978: Rumble (10") London American
- 22 May 1978: 'Scatter (LP-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 21 May 1979: 'Jack The Ripper'
- 08 May 1979: 'Black Widow'
- 29 May 1979: 'Good Good Lovin' (LP-Bullshot)' (Charisma)
- 05 June 1979: 'Rawhide (LP-Bullshot)' (Charisma)
- 13 May 1980: 'Rumble (7")' (Revival)
- 17 May 1980 (BFBS): Rumble (shared 7" with Bobby Fuller Four - I Fought The Law / Rumble) Revival
- 07 August 1980: 'Comanche (LP-Link Wray & The Wraymen)'
- 01 September 1982 (BFBS): Ace Of Spades
- 09 June 1984 (BFBS): Batman Theme
- Peel Early 1985: 'Ace Of Spades'
- 10 March 1985 (BFBS): Jack The Ripper
- 17 March 1985 (BFBS): Ace Of Spades
- 23 June 1985 (BFBS): Jack The Ripper
- 24 June 1985: 'Caroline (LP-Link Wray And The Wraymen)' (Edsel)
- 25 August 1986: The Sweepers (LP - Rock 'N' Roll 'N' Rumble) Charly
- 06 December 1988: The Sweeper
- 23 December 1988 (BFBS): 'The Sweeper'
- 02 December 1989 (BFBS) (Peel 125 (BFBS)): 'Batman Theme (7")' (Swan)
- 27 March 1990: Shawnee (LP - Apache) Ace
- 28 March 1990: Green Hornet (LP - Apache) Ace
- 14 April 1990 (BFBS) (Peel 140 (BFBS)): 'Shawnee (LP-Apache)' (Ace) (JP: 'Back in the seventies, Link Wray became a bit of a voguish figure, because Pete Townshend or somebody had said he took up the guitar because he heard Link Wray's Rumble. Link Wray was then encouraged to start singing, which he can't do, and he made a lot of LPs of himself singing, and then there were kind of guitar hero LPs as well, in which he was trying to imitate Jimmy Page, and it was horrendous. But he's now gone back to the basics, and it still sounds pretty good to me.')
- 21 April 1990 (BFBS) (Peel 141 (BFBS)): 'The Joker (LP-Apache)' (Ace)
- 21 April 1990 (BFBS): Green Hornet (LP-Apache) (Ace)
- 12 May 1990 (BFBS) (Peel 143 (BFBS)): 'Green Hornet (LP-Apache)' (Ace)
- 09 June 1990 (BFBS) (Peel 149 (BFBS)): 'Rumble (CD-The Original Rumble)' (Ace)
- 06 September 1990: 'The Wild One (2xLP-Apache/Wild Side Of The City Lights)' (Ace)
- 26 September 1990: The Wild One (CD - Apache / Wild Side Of The City Lights) Ace
- 29 September 1990: The Joker (LP - Apache) Ace
- 06 October 1990: 'Raunchy (2xLP-Apache/Wild Side Of The City lights)' (Ace)
- 20 October 1990: Big City After Dark
- 20 October 1990 (BFBS) (Peel 162 (BFBS)): 'The Wild One (CD-Apache/Wild Side Of the City Lights)' (Ace)
- 01 June 1991: 'Hand Clapper (LP-Link Wray And His Wraymen)' (Epic)
- 13 September 1992 (BFBS): Batman Theme
- 16 April 1993: 'Rumble (7")' (London) (JP: ‘I played that at the Powerhouse last week and lots of interesting young people with skin conditions came up and wanted to know what it was.')
- 27 August 1993: Jack The Ripper
- 10 September 1993 (BFBS): 'Ace Of Spades (7")' (Swan)
- 18 September 1993: Ace of Spades
- 09 October 1993: 'I'm Branded (7")' (Swan)
- 06 May 1994: 'Fatback (LP-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 21 May 1994 (BFBS): 'Run Chicken Run'
- Peel May 1994: 'Fatback (LP-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 18 June 1994: 'Black Widow (CD-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 02 July 1994 (BFBS): 'Black Widow (CD-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 15 July 1994: 'Mr. Guitar'
- 04 March 1995: Deuces Wild (v/a cassette - Abattoir Dogs) Vox Magazine
- 17 March 1995: 'The Wild One (Cassette-Abattoir Dogs)' (Vox Magazine)
- 25 March 1995 (BFBS): 'The Wild One (Cassette-Abattoir Dogs)' (Vox Magazine)
- 18 April 1995 (Radio Mafia): 'I'm Branded'
- 23 September 1995: Ace Of Spades (7")' (Norton)
- 30 September 1995: 'The Black Widow (7")' (Norton)
- 30 September 1995 (BFBS): 'Ace Of Spades (7")' (Norton)
- 13 October 1995: The Black Widow (7" - The Black Widow / Mustang) Norton U 40154
- 22 October 1995 (BFBS): 'Black Widow (CD-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 19 May 1996 (with Bunker Hill: The Girl Can't Dance (7" - Night Dance Party / The Girl Can't Dance Friday Night Dance Party / The Girl Can't Dance) Norton 046
- 02 February 1997: 'Night Prowler (CD-Shadowman)' (Ace)
- 01 April 1997: 'Jack The Ripper (LP-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 10 April 1997 (BFBS): 'Jack The Ripper (7")' (Norton)
- 09 June 1999: 'Jack The Ripper (LP-Early Recordings)' (Chiswick)
- 17 June 1999 (Radio Eins): Jack The Ripper (LP – Early Recordings) Chiswick
- 06 October 1999: 'Rumble' (Peelenium 1958)
- 07 February 2001: 'Barbed Wire (CD-Barbed Wire)' (Ace)
- 01 March 2001 (Radio Eins): 'Barbed Wire (CD-Barbed Wire)' (Ace)
- 07 June 2001: 'Jack The Ripper (7")' (Stateside)
- 05 June 2003: 'Rumble (LP-The Original Rumble Plus 22 Other Storming Guitar Instrumentals)' (Ace)
- 14 September 2004: 'Batman Theme (LP-Early Recordings)' (Ace)
- 19 October 2004: 'Tiger Man (LP-Barbed Wire)'