May 22, 2024

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Duane Eddy, GRAMMY winning twangy guitar hero, dies aged 86: I had a distinctive sound that people could recognize and I stuck pretty much with that: Video, Photo

Duane Eddy, guitar pioneer who brought twang to rock and roll on instrumentals such as “Peter Gunn” and “Rabble Rouser,” has died at the age of 86. He died of cancer Tuesday at the Williamson Health hospital in Franklin, Tennessee.

A rep for the guitarist said he was surrounded by his devoted wife and his family. “Duane inspired a generation of guitarists the world over with his unmistakeable signature ‘Twang’ sound. He was the first rock and roll guitar god, a truly humble and incredible human being. He will be sorely missed,” the rep said.

“I had a distinctive sound that people could recognize and I stuck pretty much with that. I’m not one of the best technical players by any means; I just sell the best,” he told The Associated Press in 1986. “A lot of guys are more skillful than I am with the guitar. A lot of it is over my head. But some of it is not what I want to hear out of the guitar.”

Eddy and producer Lee Hazlewood were on the cutting edge of the “Twang” sound in the 1950s, which can be heard in Hazlewood’s production of Nancy Sinatra’s 1960s hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.’”

He recorded more than 50 albums, some of them reissues. In the 1970s he worked behind-the-scenes in music production work, mainly in Los Angeles. He did not work too much from the 1980s on, “living off my royalties,” he said. He scored theme music for movies including Because They’re YoungPepe, and Gidget Goes Hawaiian. Reportedly he turned down doing the James Bond theme song because there wasn’t enough guitar music in it. He moved to Nashville in 1985 after years of semi-retirement in Lake Tahoe, California.

Paul McCartney and George Harrison were both big fans of Eddy, and he recorded with both of them after their Beatles’ days. He played on McCartney’s “Rockestra Theme” and Harrison played on Eddy’s self-titled comeback album, both in 1987.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

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