Watch: Jimmy Page Pays Tribute to Link Wray with Surprise Performance of “Rumble” at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Last night’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Barclays Center in New York was a star-studded event. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page made a surprise appearance to perform and induct Link Wray into the Hall of Fame. (Watch one legend pay tribute to another below.)

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Before taking the stage, Page appeared in a pre-recorded video saluting Wray’s massive influence on rock music. “I’m really proud and honored to induct Link Wray into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Page began. “If ever there was a guitarist who deserved this, if ever there was a guitarist who changed people’s attitude to what they heard, it’s Link Wray,” he continued.

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Page went on to say that “Rumble” introduced him to Wray’s music. He recalled that the song caught him off guard when he heard it for the first time on a jukebox. “In those days, there were many guitar instrumentals, but as a 14-year-old kid who could barely play the guitar, it really had an effect on me,” he said of the classic song. “The vigor and the strength and the power in it. And you know something else? It was fearless. It was just phenomenal.” Page called “Rumble” the “essence of cool.”

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“I’m really thrilled and honored to be the one to be able to induct Link Wray—my hero—into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Page reiterated as the video ended. Then, the stage lights came on to reveal Page holding a cherry red, double-neck Gibson SG. He performed “Rumble” to the delight of the crowd.

Wray reinvented the wheel when he released “Rumble” in 1958. The heavy distortion and tremolo he added to his guitar sound was a revelation for rock guitarists. With that single, Wray showed the world, as Page put it, “how much drama” a musician could bring to the sonic landscape with just six strings.

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Unfortunately, the influential guitarist died of heart failure at his home in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2005. He was 76 years old. However, the legacy he left behind will live forever in the musicians he influenced.

Photos by Mike Coppola/WireImage

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