Duane Eddy Essentials

Duane Eddy Essentials

Duane Eddy was one of the very first guitar heroes of rock ’n’ roll. He was born in 1938 in upstate New York but grew up in Arizona, where the young guitarist soaked up country and western and rhythm ’n’ blues while developing his uniquely twangy instrumental rock. Hooking up with disc-jockey-turned-producer Lee Hazlewood, Eddy notched reverb-drenched hits like 1958’s “Rebel Rouser” and 1960’s “Because They're Young” that revel in the open-road mythos of American youth culture. Especially influential was his reimagining of the television theme song “Peter Gunn,” whose staccato riff seeped into the DNA of surf music, the British Invasion, garage punk, and roots rock. Eddy was never just a singles artist, however. As 1958’s brilliantly programmed Have ‘Twangy’ Guitar, Will Travel demonstrates, he and Hazlewood helped transform the rock album into a thematic listening experience. Eddy’s recording eased up after the ’60s, but his sound has proved timeless. In addition to his returning to the charts in 1986 with a version of “Peter Gunn” recorded with synth-pop eccentrics Art of Noise, his songs have appeared in several Hollywood blockbusters, including Forrest Gump and Natural Born Killers. Eddy passed away in 2024 at age 86.

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