#920: El Toro by Link Wray
Peak Month: November 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray Jr. was born in 1929 in Dunn, North Carolina. Both his mother and father were Shawnee Native Americans. Among the instrumentals Wray recorded were three named after American Indian tribes: “Shawnee,” “Apache” and “Comanche.” When Link was eight years old he was sitting in the porch trying to play guitar. An elderly African-American guitar player named Hambone heard Link Wray trying to play the guitar. Hambone gave Link his first guitar lesson and showed him how to play the bottleneck slide guitar. Link moved with his family moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, when he was thirteen years old. His first band was in the late 40’s with his brothers, Vernon and Doug, playing Western Swing. As Link put it, “rock and roll before it was rock and roll.” Vernon “Lucky” Wray was the lead singer. This band also included Wray’s friend Brantley “Shorty” Horton, who later went on to become part of Link Wray’s backing band the Ray Men. A fourth member of Link Wray’s band in the late 40’s was Dixie Neal. The band was known by Lucky Wray and the Lazy Pine Wranglers, and later Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Hands. The band became popular in Portsmouth, opening for many Country and Western recording artists who played in local fairs and made live appearances on AM radio shows.