Rumble (instrumental)

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"Rumble"
Rumble (instrumental).png
Single by Link Wray & His Ray Men
B-side "The Swag"
ReleasedApril 1958
Format 7"
Recorded1954
Genre
Length2:25
Label Cadence 1347
Songwriter(s)
  • Milt Grant
  • Link Wray
Audio sample
30-second sample of "Rumble" by Link Wray & His Wraymen, 1958

"Rumble" is an instrumental by American group Link Wray & His Ray Men. Released in the United States in April 1958 as a single (with "The Swag" as a B-side), [2] "Rumble" utilized the techniques of distortion and feedback, then largely unexplored in rock and roll. The single is the only instrumental ever banned from radio in the United States. [3] [4] It is also one of the first tunes to use the power chord, [5] the "major modus operandi of the modern rock guitarist". [6]

An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a Big Band setting. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word song may refer to instrumentals. The music is primarily or exclusively produced using musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in music notation, after it is written by a composer; in the mind of the composer ; as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a musical ensemble, which could range in components from a duo or trio to a large Big Band, concert band or orchestra.

Link Wray American rock and roll guitarist

Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray, Jr. was a Shawnee rock and roll guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist who became popular in the late 1950s.

Audio feedback

Audio feedback is a special kind of positive loop gain which occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input and an audio output. In this example, a signal received by the microphone is amplified and passed out of the loudspeaker. The sound from the loudspeaker can then be received by the microphone again, amplified further, and then passed out through the loudspeaker again. The frequency of the resulting sound is determined by resonance frequencies in the microphone, amplifier, and loudspeaker, the acoustics of the room, the directional pick-up and emission patterns of the microphone and loudspeaker, and the distance between them. For small PA systems the sound is readily recognized as a loud squeal or screech. The principles of audio feedback were first discovered by Danish scientist Søren Absalon Larsen, hence the name "Larsen Effect".

Contents

In 2018, the song was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a new category for singles. [7]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Hall of fame located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have had some major influence on the development of rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983, by Atlantic Records founder and chairman Ahmet Ertegun. In 1986, Cleveland was chosen as the Hall of Fame's permanent home.

History

At a live gig in Fredericksburg, Virginia, attempting to work up a backing for The Diamonds' "The Stroll", Link Wray & His Ray Men came up with the instrumental "Rumble", which they originally called "Oddball". It was an instant hit with the live audience, which demanded four repeats that night.

Fredericksburg, Virginia Independent city in Commonwealth of Virginia, United States

Fredericksburg is an independent city located in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,286, up from 19,279 at the 2000 census. The city population was estimated at 28,360 in 2017. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the United States Department of Commerce combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.

The Diamonds

The Diamonds are a Canadian vocal quartet that rose to prominence in the 1950s and early 1960s with 16 Billboard hit records. The original members were Dave Somerville (lead), Ted Kowalski (tenor), Phil Levitt (baritone), and Bill Reed (bass). They were most noted for interpreting and introducing rhythm and blues vocal group music to the wider pop music audience. Contrary to a popular myth, the father of Tom Hanks was never a member of the group.

"The Stroll" is a song written by Nancy Lee and Clyde Otis and performed by The Diamonds. It reached #1 on the Cashbox chart, #4 on the U.S. pop chart, and #5 on the U.S. R&B chart in 1957.

Eventually the instrumental 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 [8] to make the recording sound more like the live version. But Bleyer's stepdaughter loved it, so he released it despite his misgivings. [9] Phil Everly heard it and suggested the title "Rumble", as it had a rough sound and said it sounded like a street fight.

Archibald Martin Bleyer was an American song arranger, bandleader, and record company executive.

Cadence Records was an American record company based in New York City whose labels had a picture of a metronome. It was founded by Archie Bleyer, who had been the musical director and orchestra leader for Arthur Godfrey in 1952. Bleyer had written a few hot songs in 1932–34 and had a band that recorded for ARC in 1934 and 1935.

Street fighting

Street fighting is hand-to-hand combat in public places, between individuals or groups of people.

It was banned in several US radio markets because the term "rumble" was a slang term for a gang fight and it was feared that the piece's harsh sound glorified juvenile delinquency. [8] It became a hit in the United States, where it climbed to number 16 on the charts in the summer of 1958. Bob Dylan once referred to it as "the best instrumental ever". [10] The Dave Clark Five covered it in 1964 on their first album, A Session with The Dave Clark Five ; it also appeared on their second American album, The Dave Clark Five Return! .

Juvenile delinquency Illegal behavior by minors

Juvenile delinquency, also known as "juvenile offending", is the act of participating in unlawful behavior as minors. Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers and courts, with it being common that juvenile systems are treated as civil cases instead of criminal, or a hybrid thereof to avoid certain requirements required for criminal cases. A juvenile delinquent in the United States is a person who is typically below 18 years of age and commits an act that otherwise would have been charged as a crime if they were an adult. Depending on the type and severity of the offense committed, it is possible for people under 18 to be charged and treated as adults.

Bob Dylan American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and artist

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for six decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture.

The Dave Clark Five English pop rock group

The Dave Clark Five were an English rock and roll band formed in Tottenham in 1957. In January 1964 they had their first UK top ten single, "Glad All Over", which knocked the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the UK Singles Chart. It peaked at number 6 in the United States in April 1964. Although this was their only UK #1, they topped the US chart in December 1965, with their cover of Bobby Day's "Over And Over". Their version of Chet Powers' "Get Together" reached number 8 on the UK Singles Chart retitled as "Everybody Get Together".

An updated version of the instrumental was released by Wray in 1969 as "Rumble '69" (Mr. G Records, G-820). In 2014 jazz guitarist Bill Frisell released a cover of "Rumble" on his album Guitar in the Space Age! ". [11]

Bill Frisell American musician

William Richard Frisell is an American guitarist, composer and arranger. One of the leading guitarists in jazz since the late 1980s, Frisell came to prominence as a stalwart for ECM Records. He went on to work in a variety of contexts, notably as a member of the New York City Downtown Scene where he formed a long partnership with John Zorn. He was also a longtime member of Paul Motian's groups from the early 1980s until Motian's death in 2011. Since 2000, Frisell's eclectic output as a bandleader has emphasized folk, country music, and Americana.

<i>Guitar in the Space Age!</i> 2014 studio album by Bill Frisell

Guitar in the Space Age! is an album by Bill Frisell featuring interpretations of songs and instrumentals from the 1960s which was released on the OKeh label in 2014. The Buffalo News' Jeff Simon quoted Frisell as stating "after playing for more than 50 years, it just feels right to once again play some of the music which shaped my consciousness during my formative years, even to play some of it for the first time … and maybe get it right. Guitar in the Space Age! isn’t really an exercise in nostalgia but about a recommitment to keep learning, to firm up the foundation and showcase one of the best bands I ever had."

Influence

The 1980 Adam and the Ants song "Killer in the Home", from their Kings of the Wild Frontier album, is based on the same refrain that is featured in "Rumble" (Ants guitarist Marco Pirroni has cited Link Wray as a major influence).[ citation needed ]

The piece is popular in various entertainment media. It has been used in movies, documentaries, television shows, and elsewhere, including Top Gear, The Warriors (in the deleted opening scene), Pulp Fiction, [12] Screaming Yellow Theater with host Svengoolie , Independence Day , SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One, Blow , the pilot episode of the HBO series The Sopranos , Starcraft II , Riding Giants , Roadracers , and Wild Zero .

In an interview with Stephen Colbert on April 29, 2013, Iggy Pop stated that he "left school emotionally" at the moment he first heard "Rumble" at the student union, leading him to pursue music as a career. [13]

The title of the record serves as the title of the 2017 documentary film Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World which features, amongst others, the work of Wray and his impact on rock music as a man of Native American descent.

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References

  1. Richard Aquila (1989). That Old-time Rock & Roll: A Chronicle of an Era, 1954–1963. University of Illinois Press. p. 21. ISBN   978-0-252-06919-2.
  2. Jacqueline Edmondson PhD (October 3, 2013). Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories That Shaped Our Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 359. ISBN   978-0-313-39348-8.
  3. Rodriguez, Robert A. (2005). The 1950s' Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Rock & Roll Rebels, Cold War Crises, and All-American Oddities. Potomac Books. p. 94. ISBN   978-1-57488-715-0. LCCN   2004013424. 'Rumble' has the distinction of being the only instrumental single banned from the radio airwaves. ... a song with such a provocative name and such menace to its power chords, could only spell trouble for impressionable listeners.
  4. Tushnet, Mark V.; Chen, Alan K.; Blocher, Joseph (2017). "Instrumental Music and the First Amendment". Free Speech Beyond Words: The Surprising Reach of the First Amendment. NYU Press. p. 30. ISBN   978-1-4798-8028-7. LCCN   2016590840. OCLC   946161367. Nongovernmental institutions that control forums for musical expression have also played a censoring role. For example, in 1959, federally licensed American radio stations refused to broadcast the purely instrumental Link Wray song 'Rumble' on the basis of its title's association with street violence.
  5. Zitz, Michael. Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, VA. "Fredericksburg Offered up Fertile Spot for Rock's Roots" December 20, 2005.
  6. AllMusic's Link Wray Biography
  7. "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts Songs for the First Time, Including 'Born to Be Wild' & 'Louie Louie'". Billboard. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  8. 1 2 Sullivan, James (November 21, 2005). "Guitarist Link Wray Dies: Father of the power chord was seventy-six". Rolling Stone . Archived from the original on April 2, 2019.
  9. Doyle, Jack (May 10, 2010). "Rumble Riles Censors, 1958–59". PopHistoryDig.com. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  10. Harrington, Richard (January 13, 2006). "Wray's 'Rumble' Still Reverberating". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Bob Dylan ... who once called 'Rumble' 'the best instrumental ever', visited with [Link] Wray and [Robert] Gordon backstage after a 1978 London show.
  11. Jurke, Thom. Bill Frisell – Guitar in the Space Age! > Review at AllMusic . Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  12. Maury Dean, Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia (Algora Publishing, 2003), 438.