Monthly Archives: October 2013

One Old Rocker Who Deserves to be in the Hall of Fame

Link Ray - RockHall Picture

Do you know who this guy is?  Last week, he was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and this is the photo the Hall website shows above his biography.  During his long career, this man changed his appearance many times, but I can’t figure out why the Hall used this shot.  He looks like some folk singer who lived up on a mountain in Colorado, which he definitely was not.

Let’s try another photo.

Link Wray - Old Dude Bad-Ass Rocker 2005

Now, you are even more confused.  This is a photo snapped toward the end of his life in 2005 at age 76.  Even for an old dude, the guy looks like a bad-ass rocker.  He’s got the black leather jacket and the shades, and you can see he is really into slamming that chord on his guitar.

Guessing this man’s identity would be easier if we showed photos of him during the time when he had his only two Top 40 hits in the late-fifties.  Not yet, but here’s another hint: those two hits were both instrumentals.

Let’s see some other times and other looks in his life.

 Link Wray - King of the Wild Guitar

Hey, isn’t that one of the Rolling Stones?  Or Deep Purple?  Or Black Sabbath?  Sure looks like a heavy metal guitar slinger.   The RockHall biography called his first and biggest hit, “a dangerous slab of reverberating power chords and raw distortion.”  (Wow, I wish I had written that.)

 Link Wray Album

Here’s the cover of one of his albums (with his name whited out).  Another hint, he is three-quarters Shawnee Indian.

 Link Looking Like Elvis

Aw, man, now he is doing the Elvis thing.  Looks a little like the ’68 Comeback Special, doesn’t it?

 Link at 69 in 1998

Here he is in 1998 at age 69, now with the pony-tail look.  He had the tail in that old dude bad-ass rocker picture at the beginning, but you couldn’t see it because of the angle.

 Link Wray - Pink Ponytail Band 2005

You can see the tail in this shot – with a pink band around it.

Are you thinking we’ve had enough pictures and hints?  Just tell us who this guy is!

 Link Wray Album Cover

Link Wray!  Certainly, some of you readers know who Link Wray is.  Perhaps you are old like me and lived during the time his two hits got lots of airplay.  There was “Rumble,” a number 16 hit in 1958, and “Raw-Hide,” a number 23 hit in 1959.  Think about it, with only two hits, Link Wray has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  And he never had a Top 40 album. There has to be more to the story.

And there is.

Early History:

Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Gang

Fred Lincoln Wray started out in a country group – Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Gang.  That’s Link in the cowboy hat backing his brother Vernon who sang as Lucky Wray.

Link Wray in his Country Music Days

Another photo of Link Wray during his country music days

In 1957, the group got a gig as the house band on Milt Grant’s House Party, a local teen dance show in Washington, DC.

Milt Grant's House Party

Link improvised an instrumental to cover the intro and outgo of the show’s commercial breaks.   It became known as “Rumble.”   The band played other local gigs and “Rumble” turned out to be a fan favorite.  Milt Grant, who was acting as their de facto manager, shopped the song around to various record labels, and finally got Cadence Records (the Everly Brothers label) to bite.

Link Wray's First Hit - Rumble - 1958

However, because it was an instrumental featuring Link, not Lucky, Cadence released it in 1958 by Link Wray and His Ray Men.  (We can assume the record company executives thought the name Palomino Ranch Gang would be a deterrent to sales of a rock record.)

 Link Wray and His Ray Men

That’s Link on the left.  The clean-cut all-American boy look didn’t last long.

 

Link’s music and stage persona grew wilder

Link’s music and stage persona grew wilder

 

The brooding, ominous blitzkrieg of “Rumble” caused it to be banned from the radio in several markets (including New York City).  Cadence Records tried to get Link to clean up his act, but he wanted no part of that, so he signed with Epic Records and released “Raw-Hide.”

Link Wray's Second Hit - Raw-Hide  1959

 

Link Wray continued to record, but subsequent releases failed to chart.  For a while, he recorded for his own label, Rumble Records, then had a longer tenure with Swan Records.  Many songs were instrumentals, but Link now incorporated singing into his act.  During the late 60s and 70s, Link and the boys honed their particular brand of rockin’ mayhem working some of the grimiest joints on the face of the planet.

Link’s Rockabilly Phase:

Robert Gordon and Link Wray

During the late 70s, Link had a stint backing ’70s rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon.

Robert Gordon With Link Wray

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bio, Link’s “collaboration with Robert Gordon left every retro-rockabilly guitar slinger in the dust.”

Link Moves to Denmark:

In 1980, at age 51, Link Wray moved to Denmark after marrying his wife Olive, a Danish student who had been studying Native American culture.  He continued to tour in Europe, while travelling to America occasionally to perform for the fans who knew him as an underappreciated rock hero.  Here are just a few of the hundreds of small venues where he worked:

 Link Wray - Gig 1

 Link Wray - Gig 2

Link Wray - Gig 3

Link Wray - Gig 4

Link Wray - Gig 5

 

Link Wray in 1993

Link Wray in 1993

 

Link Wray and Elvis:

I couldn’t find much to connect these rock legends.  The website Something Old, Something New said, “Link worshipped Presley, who invited him to dinner at Graceland.  Wray’s ultimate compliment consisted of naming one of his sons Link Elvis Wray.”  Link also recorded three Elvis songs:  “Hound Dog”, “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Love Me Tender.”

Older Link Wray, Looking Like Elvis

Link’s sunglasses sure look like those Elvis wore.

 Link Wray - Album Cover Pink Coat

Check out the pink sports coat.  Elvis loved pink clothes, but never had a pink coat as far as I know.  Maybe Link was trying to do him one better.

Elvis T-Shirt -  Link Wray Playing in Memphis 1998

Look who is on Link’s T-shirt during a performance in a 1998 Memphis concert.

Link Wray and Scotty Moore - Signing at Ponderosa Stomp

Remember that Ponderosa Stomp poster above.  Here are Link and Scotty Moore signing autographs at this event in April 2005.  Link died in November that year.

 

The Link Wray Legacy:

You may be thinking that everything presented in this article doesn’t sound like enough to qualify Link Wray for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Well, here are several quotes from the Hall’s bio on Link:

”… the rebellious sonic onslaught of “Rumble” cut through Top 40 radio like a steamroller. This was more than a decade before power chords even had a name…The impact of Link Wray, one of Rolling Stone’s “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time,” can be heard in generations of American and British metal, punk, grunge, thrash and psychobilly rockers, all of whom have claimed him and “Rumble” (and follow-ups “Raw-Hide” and “Jack The Ripper”) as their own.”

However, they also note that major mainstream rockers have a deep appreciation for Link:

“Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen head the A-list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees who bow to Link Wray’s abiding influence.”

Robert Gordon, Bruce Springsteen and Link Wray

“Pete Townshend simply calls him the King: “If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and ‘Rumble,’ I would never have picked up a guitar.” Even Iggy Pop is an acolyte: “I left school emotionally after hearing ‘Rumble.”

The Hall could have added a few other prime testimonials.  Neil Young once said: “If I could go back in time and see any band, it would be Link Wray and the Raymen.”  The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll adds Bob Dylan to those who have given acclaim to Link Wray.  A bootleg CD cover has this quote from John Lennon: “Gene Vincent and Link Wray and are the two great unknowns of rock ‘n roll.”

Two Link Wray Songs in Pulp Fiction

You can also count Quentin Tarentino as a Link Wray fan.  He used two of Link’s songs in the movie, Pulp Fiction.

This article turned out to be three times longer than I originally intended.  But what the heck,  I’ve been a Link Wray fan since I was 16.  I bought the “Rumble” and “Raw-Hide” 45s and played them a million times.  Thirty years later, when I got into the record collecting hobby, I bought seven Link Wray albums.  Four were original releases and prized collectibles.  The other three were newer compilations of rare instrumental tracks that cost so much they might as well have been collectibles (maybe they are now).

In 2002, Link performed at a small, but unique, music venue in our city, and I was privileged to see him perform.  He came out on the stage in the black leather jacket and the shades, but he seemed old and a little frail.  His wife helped him put on the guitar and get his ponytail out of the way of the strap.  Then he turned on the guitar and blew everybody’s mind.  Boy, I was so glad I brought earplugs that night.

So, now we must wait to see if the RockHall selection committee picks Link Wray for the Class of 2014.  If they don’t, they just might get serious complaints from that heavy-weight group of Hall members mentioned above.  Link Wray fans are a dedicated bunch.

Link Wray belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Link Wray belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Link Wray - I'll Blow Your Eardrums Out

“If you don’t vote me in, I’ll come back and blast your eardrums out”

.

 

ElvisBlog has covered other musicians with connections to Elvis as they were selected (or should have been) for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Click below to read about them.

DJ Fontana

Bill Black

Wanda Jackson

The Other TCB Band Members (James Burton has been in the Hall since 2001)

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Long Lost Elvis Limericks

The inspiration for this blog post comes from www.littlefivers.com.  This site seems to present a continuous assortment of interesting Top Five lists, except that the lists aren’t limited to five.  For example, consider The Top 9 Limericks about Elvis (Part 1) and The Top 8 Limericks about Elvis (Part 2).  These ran back-to-back in early January 2006.  If you want to see the complete rankings and the authors’ names, click on the links above. I found seven of the Elvis limericks interesting and thought they would work better with a picture below each one.

There once was a redneck named Elvis,

Who had a disordered pelvis.

It shuddered and shaked,

And often would quake,

But Sun Records sure knew how to sell this.

Sun Records

.

On “Ed Sullivan,” he took them by storm

And upset the world’s perceived norm.

When he curled up his lip

And swiveled his hip,

He made all the girls feel quite warm.

Girls Reaching for Elvis

.

There once was a man called the king.

He could act, play guitar and could sing.

All the woman would moan,

For that Hound Dog’s bone.

Till he died on the throne, the poor thing.

Toilet Seat Cover

 .

In Vegas, they’re quite an attraction.

Flying Elvi give the crowds satisfaction.

To honor the king,

In their white jumpsuit thing.

Hey, it beats Lisa with Michael Jackson.

Lisa and Michael in Car

.

Under the thumb of Colonel Tom Parker,

Elvis’ life grew only darker.

By the Colonel’s demands,

He would play at the Sands,

Dressed up as a carnival barker.

Col. Parker - Carnival Barker

 .

A King is born from the mist.

Wise men wonder, “Whose child is this?”

Stand up and be saved!

All ye poor and depraved!

Turns out, he’s from Tupelo, Miss.

Tupelo Birthplace at Night

Photo by Tony Stuchbury — http://www.elvispresleyscrapbook.co.uk/

.

I still don’t believe that he’s dead.

Could he really have croaked on the head?

Hey, maybe he’s not!

No proof have I got!

This thought helps me to sleep when in bed.

Elvis in Bed

 .

The King was oft heard to utter,

“I want ‘nanners on fried peanut butter!”

But it left greasy stains,

Clogged up all his veins

And caused his heart to flutter

Peanut Butter and Nanner Sandwich

.

Elvis drove a large, bright, pink Caddy.

Popping pills and smoking a fatty.

Wearing suits that were white,

He shot his TV one night.

He was the original pimp daddy.

Pimp Daddy Elvis

 

The seven limericks above came from the LittleFivers website.  I thought I could do better, so the next three are my attempt to do that.

 

The boy from Memphis could sing,

Soon girls called him “The King.”

He died too young,

The last song was sung,

But the fans kept doing their thing.

Candlelight Vigil

.

Elvis made a lot of dough,

Didn’t keep much of it though.

Colonel Parker’s

50% marker

Came off the top, you know.

Col Parker Looking Bad

.

There once was a singer named Elvis

Who sure could shake his pelvis.

This has to end.

We can’t pretend,

That some other word rhymes with Elvis.

Burning Elvis

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Elvis Plus Guitars Make Interesting Collectibles

Every once in a while I check in at Elvis.Com and click on News.  I scroll down the list of items and read the ones that interest me — maybe, one out of five.  Paul McCartney popping in at Graceland is news.  A plug for Legends Elvis Bedding doesn’t make the cut.

Elvis Rock 'n Roll Tequilla - In box

So I went to the site today and found this on the first page.   Elvis Presley Rock ‘n Roll Tequila.  Put it in my basket and send me to checkout.  I want one of these, even if they cost $33.

Over the years, ElvisBlog has bemoaned some of the lame Elvis stuff on the market.  But, all that is forgiven, now that EPE has come through with a dynamite idea for us mature, male fans of Elvis.

Blanco-Tequilla-750-ml

Fortunately, there was a link to a site with a front shot of a bottle out of the box.  That’s what I really want.  My current whisky decanters are pretty stodgy.  I’d like to replace my Tequila one with this nifty guitar design (imagine the labels are off).

Then I noticed that nowhere on the label are the words Elvis Presley.  All it says is:

ROCK ’n ROLL

TEQUILA

“One More Time, Twice

BLANCO

Plus some fine print about the proof and origin.

Hey, that’s not right.  Elvis’ face or name needs to be on any bottle claiming to be Elvis Presley Tequila.  Isn’t it kind of cheating to take a generic product and put it in some packaging with Elvis on it, and then call it an Elvis Gift Box Set.

I was getting worked up over this affront when I remembered I wanted to soak the label off, anyway.  Duhh.

Now, I suppose many fans who buy Elvis Presley Rock ‘n Roll Tequila will never take the bottle out of the box to preserve the collectible value.  Fine, but not me.  I’m going to have some fun with it.

 

Elvis Neon Guitar Wall Clock

While filing away these Elvis Tequila pictures in my “Elvis Products” file, I scrolled down to see what other type of Elvis/Guitar combinations might be in there.  Here’s a good one.   An Elvis, Neon Light, Guitar Wall Clock.  I’d like to have one of these, too, but it looks like it’d be hard to tell the time without any hour marks.

 

Blue Suede Shoes Beer Steins

I guess this lidded stein is clever, but it’s a little weird, too.

Elvis Beer Stein - Top

So, you press down on the guitar neck and the top opens up.  Think I’ll pass.

Wertheimer Collection Watch - Open

How about an Al Wertheimer Collection wrist watch inside a miniature guitar case?  I think this is really cool.  Maybe one of my family members would like this as a Christmas present idea for me.  Otherwise, she will just buy me the first dumb Elvis thing she runs into.

 

All the guitars in the next picture caught my eye, but it doesn’t really fit the theme of this article – a product combining Elvis and a guitar.  This is just images of Elvis holding a guitar.

Party Invitations

Then, I read the message.  How clever is a birthday party invitation that says, “You can knock me down, step on my cake.”

 

Elvis Blue Hawaii Guitar Bank

I actually own one of these Elvis guitar-shaped banks.  It came filled with popcorn.  I’ve never put any money in it, because my wife takes all my change and puts it in her Georgia Bulldog bank.

 

Metallic Pink Elvis Guitar Bag

What do you think, ladies?  Would you like a pink Elvis guitar-shaped purse?  It also comes in gold and silver models.

 

Elvis-Guitar Lamp

I’m not sure if I like this lamp with an Elvis shade and a guitar base.   Maybe it works well in a private Elvis Room.

 

Elvis Presley Sun Records Guitar Salt & Pepper Shaker Set

There is no doubt in my mind about the Elvis Sun Studios Salt and Pepper Set.  This is ridiculous.  Where does the salt or pepper come out – from the end of the neck?  When not in use, do you just lean the guitars against the Sun building?  If I tried to put this on our dining room table, my wife would go ballistic.

 

Elvis on Heavy Metal magazine

We’ll end with the most bizarre combination of Elvis and a guitar I have ever seen.  This 1980 Heavy Metal magazine cover morphs the guitar onto a nude female body.  How come the strings don’t stop at the end of the guitar?  Pretty strange.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Having Fun with Elvis Movie Stills

If you want to discover a cool Elvis website, please check out ELVIS – Echoes of the Past.  The content is mostly images with a little narration.  Ger Rijff and Bob Pakes have accumulated a vast collection Elvis photos, news articles, and memorabilia, and we fans now get to peak into the scrapbook.  My favorite section is Movie Stills, which contains the complete sets of movie studio film stills.  So far, Bob has covered seven movies.  After I checked out all seven recently, twelve of the shots caught my attention as something fun to write about.

Change Of Habit  --  The Smile

Like this one from Change of Habit.  I’ve never seen it before.  Doesn’t it look like he’s saying, “After I ditch Mary Tyler Moore, what do you say we have a little party?”  And she certainly looks interested.

 

Charro  --  Snake in Nose 1

I can’t believe they used this shot as a promotion for Charro.  The guy’s got a long stick coming out his nose.  Eeeeuuu.

 

Charro  --  Snake in nose 2

Oh, no.  Now Elvis is doing it.

 

Jailhouse Rock  --  Bill, DJ and Scotty

I must admit I cropped Elvis out of this Jailhouse Rock still.  He was sitting at the right end of the bar.   Over the years, I have emailed photos to Karen Fontana and Gail Pollock that show their men, DJ and Scotty, in scenes from Elvis movies.  This time, I thought they might get a lick out of seeing their guys in a movie shot that doesn’t include Elvis.  It may be the only time they were filmed on a stage when he wasn’t right there in front of them.

 

Wild-In-The-Country  --  Load of laundry

Check out this exciting, action-packed still.  I can’t believe they thought it would make a good promo for Wild in the Country.  Hope Lange is loading a basket of folded laundry into a car.  That really makes you want to see the movie.  Gimme a break!

 

Viva  --  Ann in Baathing Suit

I don’t believe I’ve ever previously seen this shot of Ann Margret promoting Viva Las Vegas, but it’s a good one.  She certainly looks fine.

Ann Nargret on Bike

Here’s another solo shot of Ann Margret that’s pretty cool.  This Viva Las Vegas film still set contains nineteen shots of Elvis and Ann Margret together, more pairings than for any of the other movies covered so far.

Viva  --  Dancing on a Pedestal

I picked this one because it is different, but also because Elvis and the dancer are on that little pedestal.  It reminds me of those collectible Elvis figurines that have him standing on some kind of base.

 

Loving-You  --  Groupie

I love this shot of Elvis and the groupie from the Loving You stills.  That is one determined girl.  How did he ever turn her down?  Man of steel?

 

Loving You - Black, hairy thing on collar

Yikes!  What’s that hairy black thing behind Elvis’ collar?  Is it a little kitten?

 

Flaming Star -- Campfire with Groupies

For some reason, this still of Elvis around the campfire in Flaming Star tickles me.  It’s hard to see in detail, but Elvis is passing a peace pipe to one of the tribal elders.  If you study the picture closely, maybe you will see the two long-haired blondes sitting across from Elvis.  Nothing better than Kiowa groupies after the campfire.

 

Wild-In-The-Country  --  Red takes a beating

Elvis had several fight scenes with Red West in his movies, like this one from Wild in the Country.   Whenever I see a shot like this, I imagine my own caption:  “I’m going to beat the crap out of you for writing that rotten book about me.”

 

Elvis Echoes of The Past Banner

 

My thanks to Ger and Bob for graciously encouraging me to have fun with a few Elvis movie stills.  Click on the image above to check out all of them, plus lots of other cool Elvis stuff.

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.