May 12 – Link Wray ‘Rumble’, Procol Harum ‘Whiter Shade’

1958

The instrumental single Rumble by North Carolina guitarist Link Wray and his Ray Men enters the charts headed for US#16.
 
It climbs to #16, pioneering an overdriven, distorted sound and the power chord (‘rumble’ is slang for a gang fight.) The song was ‘rough’, supposedly becoming the only instrumental ever banned from (some) radio. (*)
 
The band will also have a 1959 US#23 hit with Raw-Hide (not the TV theme).

He is the king; if it hadn’t been for Link Wray and ‘Rumble,’ I would have never picked up a guitar. — Pete Townshend

Rolling Stone has rated him #67 of top-100 guitarists.
 
Wray interview (10m)  Right Turn 
 ( Fansite ▷Rockabilly HoF:Wray▹ ▷Allmusic bio▹ }

1967
 Bach n Roll 

The single of the song A Whiter Shade of Pale is released by brand-new baroque rock band Procol Harum. (*)
 
It shortly climbs to UK#1, US#5. (*) (*) Written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid (before the band formed, after the breakup of The Paramounts), it’s one of the most beautiful creations in pop music history.

The essential organ part is played by Matthew Fisher. (*) The organ: Hammond M102.
 
In 2004 PPL report that it is the most-played song in England for the last 70 years. Interestingly, it was -not- included on the UK release of the band’s first album!


A big fan

The most played track at the Beatles’ Pepper press bash was Procul Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, issued the week before Pepper. Lennon played the song non-stop on his Rolls Royce’s portable record player all the way to the party.

1977’s first Brit Awards names A Whiter Shade of Pale, along with Bohemian Rhapsody, the Best British Pop Single 1952-1977.
 
▷Songfacts interview▹  ( Website

See also: List of best-selling singles worldwide, When a Man Loves a Woman