- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 24, 2005

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Guitar master Link Wray, the father of the power chord in rock ‘n’ roll who inspired such legends as Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and Pete Townshend, died Nov. 5 at his home in Copenhagen. He was 76.

No cause of death was given beyond a statement on his Web site by his wife and son that “his heart was getting tired.”

Mr. Wray, who played in a trademark leather jacket, developed a style considered the blueprint for heavy metal and punk music. He is best known for his 1958 instrumental “Rumble,” 1959 “Rawhide” and 1963 “Jack the Ripper.”

His music was featured in movies including “Pulp Fiction,” “Independence Day” and “Desperado.”

Mr. Wray, who was born in North Carolina, is said to have inspired many other rock musicians, including Pete Townshend of The Who, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Steve Van Zandt. All have been quoted as saying that Mr. Wray and “Rumble” inspired them to become musicians.

The power chord — a thundering sound created by playing fifths (two notes five notes apart, often with the lower note doubled an octave above) — became a favorite among rock players. Mr. Wray claimed because he was too slow to be a whiz on the guitar, he had to invent sounds.

Though he went out of style in the ‘60s, he was rediscovered by later generations. He had toured the United States and Canada since the mid-1990s, playing 40 shows this year. In 2002, Guitar World magazine elected Mr. Wray one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Survivors include his wife, Olive; and a son, Oliver Wray.

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