In 2003 Bowie did his “Live by Satellite” tour. It was a novel concept in that he performed live at one location, and simulcast it to several others. To pull this off, state of the art technology was utilized that Arthur C. Clarke hardly dreamt of. The set list featured many songs from his newly released Reality album. Two songs he performed were not his own, Song 2 by Blur, released a few years before, and “Rumble” by Link Wray, released 44 years before:
Now, there is a reason Bowie chose that 44 year old song that most people have forgotten. As much of a pioneer as Bowie has been, so was Link Wray. You see, this is the guy that created the power chord. That’s right all you heavy metal, grunge, hard rock, punk, and guitar loving music freaks, it all started with Link Wray. As much as the grunge and heavy metal crowd likes to think they are shocking everyone today, how many have had this reaction:
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’.
Most of the guitar legends of the 60’s and 70’s cite Rumble as one of their inspirations, including Bowie. Link Wray passed away on November 5, 2005.