Fan voting for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ends Tuesday, and in an attempt to improve North Carolina native Link Wray’s chances, his estate is bringing out a previously lost, never-before-heard recording online.
It’s called “Son of Rumble,” and it was originally intended to be the followup to “Rumble” – the menacing guitar instrumental that still stands as the Dunn-born Wray’s signature hit. “Rumble” cracked the Top 20 of the singles charts in 1958 and has been a soundtrack staple ever since, appearing in films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “It Might Get Loud.”
Wray went on to a long and respected career as one of the seminal rockers, before his 2005 death at age 76 from heart problems. But “Son of Rumble” was never released, and the reasons why are a mystery.
“We will never know the answer to that question as all the original players are no longer with us,” said Wray estate spokesman Greg Laxton in an emailed statement. “I located the master in New York, and for reasons unknown it never left the state it was recorded in. Whoever decided to hold it obviously made a wrong decision then, but it ended up being a great decision for now.”
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The song has been put online for listening now – ahead of a scheduled April release of an old-school vinyl single – which might give Wray a boost in the Hall of Fame’s online public vote.
Quite frankly, he could use the help. He’s one of 19 acts on the ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Wray has been on the ballot before, and Dunn, where he grew up, has been lobbying for years to get him in. One year, a Facebook page was created to drum up support.
According to votes, Wray is just a few notches up from the bottom, with a fraction of the 1 million-plus votes garnered by overall leader Bon Jovi. Other nominees include LL Cool J, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, The Cars and Rage Against the Machine.
The primary voters are the hall’s official voting body of about 900 artists, historians and industry members. But online fan votes enter into it, too.
Doing somewhat better is Tryon native Nina Simone, who is in the middle of the pack and just ahead of Radiohead. Helping her cause is a huge crocheted orange-and-pink mural currently adorning an exterior wall of the Raleigh Convention Center.
The voting deadline at rockhall.com/vote is Dec. 5.
“Son of Rumble” will be released on vinyl in April on Easy Eye Sound, the label of Black Keys leader Dan Auerbach.