Legendary Guitarist Duane Eddy Dies at 86

Duane Eddy
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Rocker known as the first “guitar god,” Duane Eddy passed away after a battle with cancer. The 86-year-old reportedly died surrounded by his wife Deed and his family. His rep confirmed the news and shared, “Duane inspired a generation of guitarists the world over with his unmistakable signature ‘Twang’ sound. He was the first rock and roll guitar god, a truly humble and incredible human being. He will be sorely missed.”

Eddy is known as “the first stand-alone rock ‘n’ roll guitar star with a string of instrumental hits through the 50s and 60s.” He wrote TV themes for shows including Peter Gunn and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and later the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008.

20th February 1975: Popular rock 'n' roll twangy guitarist Duane Eddy, making a comeback twelve years after his last single, 'Dance With The Guitar Man', was in the top ten in 1963. He played to an enthusiastic press audience at the White Elephant On The River restaurant and disco on the Embankment, London, to promote his new record 'Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar.'

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Eddy began playing with Buddy Long’s Western Melody Boys early in his career. He created a technique of playing lead on his guitar’s bass strings to create his signature “twangy” sound. Over the course of his career, he had 16 Top 40 singles and his records were consistently more successful in the UK. Eventually, a new group called Duane Eddy and the Rebels were a frequent act on The Dick Clark Show during the late ’50s.

In the ’60s, Eddy tried his hand at acting and appeared in several films including Because They’re Young, The Wild Westerners, A Thunder of Drums, Kona Coast, and The Savage Seven. In the ’70s, he began producing album projects for artists such as Waylon Jennings and Phil Everly. Several of his songs remained timeless, for example, his hit “Rebel Rouser” appeared in the hit film Forrest Gump. He continued to tour until a few years ago when he had to slow down to focus on his health.

Duane Eddy attends the 2023 Music City Walk of Fame Induction ceremony at Music City Walk of Fame on October 04, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee

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“Duane Eddy’s electric guitar was a voice all its own,” Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young said. “His sound was muscular and masculine, twangy and tough. He inspired thousands of hillbilly cats and downtown rockers to rumble. His sound will forever be stitched into the fabric of country rock & roll.”

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February 2024

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