Link Wray died aged seventy-six of heart failure at his home in Copenhagen,Denmark. He was survived by his fourth wife, Olive Julie Povlsen Link Wray, and their son. He was buried in the crypt of the Christian's Church, Copenhagen.
Link Link Wray's first three marriages—to Elizabeth Canady Wray, Katherine Tidwell Wray, and Sharon Wray each ended in divorce but did produce eight children.
Link Wray was born on 2nd May 1929 in Dunn, North Carolina, U.S.A. to Fred Lincoln Wray, Sr. and his wife, Lillian M. Wray, who were Shawnee Native Americans, although the 1930 and 1940 censuses refer to them as White. Three songs he performed were named for American Indian tribes: "Shawnee," "Apache," and "Comanche." "Apache" was an instrumental composed by Jerry Lordan; it was originally a hit in the United Kingdom for The Shadows in 1960 and reached number 2 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. in April, 1961 by Danish guitarist Jørgen Ingmann. Link Wray recorded a cover version 30 years later, when it was also associated with The Ventures and the Incredible Bongo Band.
Link Wray served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and contracted tuberculosis, which hospitalized him for a year. His stay concluded with the removal of a lung, which doctors predicted would mean he would never be able to sing again.
In 1958, Link Wray's first hit, "Rumble," was banned in New York and Boston for fear it would incite teenage gang violence. The record was first released on Cadence Records as by "Link Wray & His Ray Men." Before, during, and after his stints with major labels Epic and Swan, Link Wray released 45 rpm's under many names. Tiring of the corporate music machine, he began recording albums using a three-track studio he converted from an outbuilding on his brother's property that his father used to raise chickens.
While living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1970s, Link Wray was introduced to Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina by bassist James "Hutch" Hutchinson. He subsequently formed a band initially featuring special guest Cipollina along with the rhythm section from Cipollina's band Copperhead, bassist Hutch Hutchinson, and drummer David Weber. They opened for the band Lighthouse at The Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles from May 15–19, 1974. He later did numerous concerts and radio broadcasts in the Bay Area including KSAN and the Bill Graham venue Winterland Ballroom, with Les Lizama later replacing Hutchinson on bass. He toured and recorded two albums with retro-rockabilly artist Robert Gordon in the late 1970s. The 1980s to the present day saw a large number of reissues as well as new material. One member of his band in the 1980s, drummer Anton Fig, later became drummer in the CBS Orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman. In 1994, he played on four songs of the album Chatterton by French rocker Alain Bashung. He went on to release two albums of new music: Shadowman in 1997 and Barbed Wire in 2005. Recently discovered recordings are predictedto be released in 2018.
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