It's the birthday of the father of the power-chord and all-around rock 'n roll icon, Link Wray. A little thread. #LinkWray #BOTD
First, we have to talk about "Rumble." "Rumble" (1958) was considered so dangerous that radio stations refused to play it. **"Rumble" is an instrumental**. In Twitter-ese: Let that sink in.
And you know what? The people who were afraid of it weren’t wrong. Those who were afraid of “Rumble” sensed correctly that the song was part of what was shattering society's status quo. Step aside, grown-ups. The kids are in charge now. And they're all on motorcycles.
"It's the sexiest toughest chord change in all of rock 'n roll." -- Steven Van Zandt on "Rumble". More guitarist appreciation from that interview, included in the documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.
"The first time I heard 'Rumble' ... it was something that had so much profound attitude ..." -- Jimmy Page. Here, he listens to Link Wray's "Rumble" and talks about it:
I love how Jimmy Page just bursts out laughing when he's listening to the Link Wray record (in Tweet above). He can't contain it. The sound is still so audacious. It hasn't "dated" at all. It's a MONSTER.
Link Wray tells the story of how "Rumble" was born - almost by accident. (Naturally, I am happy about his shirt). LW: "Now the kids are screaming because now something is happening."
"Rumble" is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the "singles" category. But Link Wray is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Which is kind of like a film being nominated for every Oscar EXCEPT Best Director. #LinkWray
I'll just pull out a couple of my fave tracks. In his version of "Good Rockin' Tonight" when he wails “Have you heard the news? There’s good rockin’ tonight” it sounds like a threat. And when he goes up the octave? Run for cover.
His version of "Fever" is pure sex.
I am trying to picture turning on the TV in 1959, complacent, thinking I know what I'm about to see ... and then hearing ... this. I'd be SHOOK.
He grew up in a town dominated by the KKK, and his family (Shawnee) was persecuted, crosses burned on their lawns. They would hide and put blankets over the windows. His music says in no uncertain terms: “You do not want to mess with me.”
I jsut realized there's only one live clip in this whole thread - so I'll close it out with a clip of him in 1974 doing "Mystery Train." #LinkWray
Link Wray fans and guitar nerds: fave LW tracks? Thoughts?

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More from @sheilakathleen

19 Jan
“I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know I’m not blonde.” – Dolly Parton. #BOTD ready for a thread. #DollyParton
One of Dolly Parton's earliest singles (which she didn't write) was "Dumb Blonde." She knew going in who she was, what she wanted to look like, how she was perceived, and she was never anybody's fool about it. #DollyParton
I love Dolly Parton's stuff with Porter Wagoner. (I love her in duets, in general - but these, in particular, have an intensity and sincerity you can feel.) Here they are performing "We Found It". Heart-piercing. #DollyParton
Read 18 tweets
18 Jan
I link to this on Archie Leach's b-day every year: an essay for a Film Preservation Blogathon back in 2011 - about Grant's character in NOTORIOUS - a character study, really - and how he plays it. "A fat-headed guy full of pain."
My friend Mitchell and I had a lengthy conversation once about Grant - and I recorded it (see next Tweet). But here's Mitchell, to give you a taste:
Read 5 tweets
29 Dec 20
Just a little thread of some of the things I wrote on my own site in 2020. Yes, the site is a monster. I can't help it. I've been writing over there for 18 years. It's an oasis. For me anyway and hopefully for others!
I interviewed Jennifer McCabe, Associate Professor at Lehman College in the Theatre Department (she also teaches at NYU) a/b the fascinating exercises she's developed to help solve common problems she saw w/her acting students. DEEP DIVE into PROCESS.
I didn't start OUT wanting my blog to be a veritable birthday-calendar, but that's what's happened. It's an offshoot of writing over there for 18 years. They're fun to do. Here's one on Anita Loos:
Read 13 tweets
29 Apr 20
It's Willie Nelson's 87th bday. Born in 1933. Living legend. You ready for a thread? #WillieNelson
“Ninety-nine percent of the world’s lovers are not with their first choice. That’s what makes the jukebox play.” – Willie Nelson.
A couple years ago (on Hank Williams' birthday, no less) I attended Outlaw Fest, w/Sheryl Crow, Eric Church etc. on the bill - all leading up to Willie taking the stage at the end. His entire family was with him. If you've seen him live, you know the magic .
Read 16 tweets
12 Dec 19
It's the great Teri Garr's birthday. Here she is dancing next to a smokin-hot Ann-Margret and Elvis in VIVA LAS VEGAS.
She was in nine Elvis movies. As a background dancer. She was a background dancer in the legendary TAMI Show, gyrating around Marvin Gaye. Now obviously she went on to greater things, but I will pay tribute today to the section I call The Elvis Years.
You can see her dancing in all of his movies - but she's most recognizable in "C'mon Everybody" from VIVA LAS VEGAS. She's seen behind Elvis and AM in their first little scene together - horizontal stripe sweater, blue and pink. Teri Garr! Hilarious!
Read 14 tweets
31 Oct 19
"I was just beautifying him, don’t you know. A thing of beauty, don’t you know. Yeats says, or I mean, Keats says." – James Joyce, ULYSSES. It's John Keats' birthday. Mr. Sensuous. Post on my site:
The story of his epitaph is so interesting. Basically it would be like: I tell a friend what I want my epitaph to be. Let's say "Good friend, a loving sister and daughter" - I don't know, something like that, right? Then I die. My friend decides that life gave me a bum deal ...
... and decides to ADD to my epitaph so now it reads "Unappreciated by all, unloved and un-noticed, nevertheless she was a good friend, a loving sister and daughter." Like, totally turning my nice epitaph into some bitter posthumous statement. That's what happened with Keats.
Read 4 tweets

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