Guitar icon Duane Eddy dies, aged 86

2 May 2024, 11:52

Duane Eddy in the 1960s
Duane Eddy in the 1960s. Picture: Getty Images

By Mayer Nissim

Duane Eddy was a guitar pioneer and deserved Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Duane Eddy has died at the age of 86.

The pioneering musician sometimes known as the 'King of Twang' died peacefully at home surrounded by his family in Franklin, Tennessee, on April 30, azcentral reports.

"Duane inspired a generation of guitarists the world over with his unmistakeable signature 'Twang' sound," Eddy's representative told Variety.

"He was the first rock and roll guitar god, a truly humble and incredible human being. He will be sorely missed."

Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said: "Instrumentalists don’t usually become famous. But Duane Eddy’s electric guitar was a voice all its own.

Duane Eddy "Rebel Rouser"

"His sound was muscular and masculine, twangy and tough... the Duane Eddy sound will forever be stitched into the fabric of country and rock & roll."

Eddy exploded onto the scene in 1958 with the hit single 'Rebel Rouser', kicking off a career as one of the most successful instrumental artists of all time.

The track was produced by Lee Hazlewood, who had already produced Eddy's previous tracks 'Soda Fountain Girl' and 'The Fool'.

Duane Eddy, the King of Twang
Duane Eddy, the King of Twang. Picture: Getty Images

Prior to his work with Hazlewood, Eddy – born in Corning, New York, on April 26, 1938 – had formed a duo with Jimmy Delbridge when he was just 16.

After his breakthrough, Eddy scored hits with tracks like 'Cannonball', 'Forty Miles of Bad Road', 'Shazam' and 'Peter Gunn' and released the hit debut album Have 'Twangy' Guitar Will Travel.

Even after his 1950s and 1960s heyday, Eddy was a man much in demand, working with the likes of Phil Everly, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, BJ Thomas and Hank Marvin, among others.

The Art of Noise featuring Duane Eddy - Peter Gunn (Official Video)

His 1987 comeback album Duane Eddy was produced by the likes of Jeff Lynne, Ry Cooder, Paul McCartney and Ann Dudley. A year earlier he had reworked 'Peter Gunn' with the Art of Noise.

Eddy continued to perform, with a well-received series of shows in 2018 to mark his 80th birthday.

That tour included concerts in London and Manchester, recognising his UK fanbase who had long supported Eddy over the years, helping him score ten top 10 singles over here.

Last Played Songs