Duane Eddy

One of the early rock and rollers, Duane Eddy's signature twanging, electric guitar sound created some of the era's most distinctive riffs and made him a great icon of the guitar. Born on April 26, 1938, in Corning, New York, he first learnt to play guitar aged five and producer Lee Hazelwood discovered him at 16. Hazelwood helped him develop a unique style inspired by Chet Atkins, based on rockabilly, low-strung strings and heavy reverb. Eddy's instrumental jams caused a storm, producing the hits “Rebel Rouser,” “Peter Gunn,” “Forty Miles of Bad Road” and the UK number 2 singles “Because They're Young” and “Pepe.” Duane Eddy was voted ‘The World's Number One Music Personality’ by NME readers in 1960 (ahead of Elvis Presley) and his successful albums Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel (1958), Especially for You (1959), and $1,000,0000 Worth of Twang (1960) helped inspire The Shadows and The Beatles - paving the way for The British Invasion. While still active as a recording and touring artist, his commercial success came to an end in 1964 when The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and other British bands dominated the charts all over the world. He did achieve minor chart success in 1970 with “Freight Train” and in 1975 when his single “Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar” reached the Top 10 in the UK. Duane Eddy’s appearance on The Art of Noise’s 1986 hit single “Peter Gunn” introduced him to a new audience and earned him a Grammy Award – shared with The Art of Noise - for Best Rock Instrumental. Regarded as one of the instrumental rock guitar greats, Duane Eddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Duane Eddy died from cancer on April 30, 2024, at the age of 86.

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