The Most-Feared Instrumental Rock & Roll Song Ever Recorded

Photograph of Link Wray playing guitar
Ted Gioia writes in The Honest Broker about early guitar hero Link Wray and about his song "Rumble":

Bob Dylan, who was inspired by Wray as a youngster, allegedly told him over dinner that he was better than Hendrix. Pete Townshend of the Who once claimed that "If it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I never would have picked up a guitar." Bruce Springsteen has played “Rumble” in concert. Other ardent Link Wray fans include Jimmy Page, Neil Young, and Iggy Pop.

But film directors have done even more than the music establishment to ensure Wray’s lasting renown. Quentin Tarantino featured two of his songs, “Rumble” and “Ace of Spades,” in Pulp Fiction. Wray’s “Jack the Ripper” shows up in Robert Rodriguez's Desperado, as well as the 2019 Oscar Best Picture nominee Ford v. Ferrari. I recently heard “La De Da” on the TV show Barry. Filmmakers especially love “Rumble,” which has also appeared everywhere from Independence Day to The Sopranos. If you want to convey a sense of rebellion or menace with just a snippet of music, Wray is an inexhaustible resource.

None of this should surprise you.