Duane Eddy, who changed the style of rock music, dies at 86

Duane Eddy, who broke new ground in 1950s pop music with his echoing, staccato guitar playing style that became known as the “twang”, died Tuesday in Franklin, Tenn. He was 86 .

His death at the hospital was due to complications from cancer, said his wife, Deed (Abbate) Eddy.

Mr. Eddy achieved great success as a purely instrumental recording artist in the late 1950s and ’60s, selling millions of records worldwide, including “Rebel Rouser” and “Forty Miles of Bad Road” ” and other roaring, echoey hits. Along the way, he played an important role in the electric guitar becoming a staple instrument in rock music.

Mr. Eddy influenced many rock guitarists, including George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen, whose deep guitar lines on “Born to Run” were a nod to Mr. Eddy’s muscular guitar lines. String tribute.

“Duane Eddy was the lead singer, the first rock guitar god,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s founding vocalist and guitarist John Fogerty said on the Rhino Records website.

Mr. Eddy, who was self-taught, devised his own rhythmic melodies by strumming lead lines from recordings on the bass strings of his guitar and making extensive use of a tremolo bar. He never learned to read music or compose music, but he had a keen eye for popular music, including country, jazz, and rhythm and blues.

He is also good at experimenting in the studio. Once, he brought a 2,000-gallon water tank to a meeting and placed a speaker inside to simulate the effect of an echo chamber.

“I love being in the studio and exploring different track textures and different arrangement ideas,” Mr. Eddy said in a 2013 interview with Guitar Player magazine, which awarded him its Legend Award in 2004.

“For me,” Mr. Eddy continued, “it’s not just about playing an instrument, it’s about making records. I guess a better way to explain it is that I don’t write or arrange songs like this. Instead, I think it is writing or arranging Record. My voice is the common thread that pulls all the threads together and weaves them together.

Mr. Eddy’s signature guitar playing approach is easily recognized and he had 15 Top 40 pop songs from 1958 to 1963. in the soundtrack.

Mr. Eddy’s gritty playing was further characterized by “Cannonball,” a rollicking instrumental that reached the top 20 on the U.S. pop charts in 1958 and the top 10 in the U.K.; and “(Dance With the) Guitar” “Man” was a 1962 hit song that featured a female vocal group in a choir. “The Ballad of Paladin” is a jumping instrumental used in the CBS television series “Have” The theme song of “Gun — Will Travel”.

Most of Mr. Eddy’s early records were produced with producer and songwriter Lee Hazlewood and released on the Philadelphia label Jamie Records. His backing band, the Rebels, features members of the famous West Coast studio group Wrecking Crew, including guitarist Al Casey, saxophonists Jim Horn and Plas Johnson, and keyboardist and bassist Larry Knechtel.

Most of Mr. Eddy’s albums from the late 1950s and early 1960s contained versions of the word “twang” in their titles.

Mr. Eddy was born on April 26, 1938, in Corning, a small town in south-central New York State, and began playing guitar when he was 5 years old. grocery store. His mother, Alberta Evelyn (Granger) Eddy, maintained the home. When Duane was 13, the family moved to Tucson, Arizona, and then to Phoenix, where Duane met Mr. Hazlewood and began their musical partnership.

Duane received his first custom-made Chet Atkins model Gretsch guitar when he was 16 years old. ‘s first record.

In 1957, Mr. Eddy began touring as a guitarist with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars, and soon after he began releasing records under his own name.

Mr. Eddy and Mr. Hazlewood parted ways in late 1960 over contract disputes, but later reunited for project work. Mr. Eddy soon signed with RCA.

By the mid-1960s, the hit singles had stopped being released, but Mr. Eddy continued to release instrumental albums, including a cover of the Bob Dylan song “Duane Does Dylan.”

The rock music renaissance of the next decade revived interest in Mr. Eddy’s work. In the 1970s, Mr. Eddy also produced albums by Phil Everly and Waylon Jennings, whose widow, Jessi Colter, was married to Mr. Eddy from 1962 to 1968.

Mr. Eddy’s music was introduced to another generation of fans in the 1980s, when the British synth-pop band Art of Noise released a progressive disco version of his 1960 hit version of Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn,” which also featured Mr. Eddy. in. It won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1987.

Mr. Eddie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, the same year his original hit record “Rebel Rouser” was featured in the movie “Forrest Gump.” The song “The Trembler”, which he co-wrote with Ravi Shankar, appeared in Oliver Stone’s 1994 film Natural Born Killers. In 2008, he was also inducted into the Nashville Musicians Hall of Fame.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Eddy leaves behind three children: Linda Jones and Chris Eddy (from his first marriage to Carol Puckett); ) and Jennifer Eddy Davis (from his marriage to Ms. Colter). sister Elaine Scarborough; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Mr. Eddy said that, unlike many instrumentalists, he had never seriously considered extending his musical experience into the vocal realm.

In 2013, he elaborated on the subject in an interview with Guitar Player magazine, recalling being asked in an interview with Conan O’Brien: “Duane, you’ve done This industry has been around for many years; what do you think is your greatest contribution to music? He replied: “Not singing. ​​”

“I never thought I had a good singing voice,” he continued. “It frustrated me when I was younger, so I put it on the guitar.”

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