Rumble (instrumental)  

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"Rumble" is an influential rock instrumental by Link Wray & His Ray Men. Originally released in 1958, "Rumble" utilized then-unexplored techniques like distortion and feedback. The song is the only instrumental single banned from the radio airwaves. It is also described as the first song to use the power chord.


In 1958, at a live gig of the D.C.-based Milt Grant's House Party (the regional version of American Bandstand) in Fredericksburg, VA, attempting -- at the urging of the local crowd -- to work up a cover sound-alike for The Diamonds' hit, "The Stroll", they came up with the stately, powerful 12-bar blues instrumental "Rumble", which they originally called "Oddball". The song was an instant hit with the live audience, which demanded four repeats that night. Eventually the song came to the attention of record producer Archie Bleyer of Cadence Records, who hated it, particularly after Wray poked holes in his amplifier's speakers to make the recording sound more like the live version (see "Rocket 88" for Ike Turner's similar story). However, Bleyer's stepdaughter loved it and it was released despite his protest. She was the one who suggested renaming the song "Rumble", because it reminded her of West Side Story. Rumble is slang for a "gang fight".


The menacing sound of "Rumble" (and its title) led to a ban on several radio stations, a rare feat for a song with no lyrics, on the grounds that it glorified juvenile delinquency. Nevertheless it became a huge hit, not only in the United States, but also Great Britain, where it has been cited as an influence on The Kinks and The Who, among others. Pete Townshend stated in unpublished liner notes for the 1970 comeback album, "He is the king; if it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I would have never picked up a guitar." In other liner notes in 1974, Townshend said, of "Rumble": "I remember being made very uneasy the first time I heard it, and yet excited by the savage guitar sounds."

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