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Duane Eddy

If Duane Eddy's instrumental hits from the late '50s can sound unduly basic and repetitive (especially when taken all at once), he was vastly influential. Perhaps the most successful instrumental rocker of his time, he may have also been the man most responsible (along with Chuck Berry) for popularizing the electric rock guitar. His distinctively low, twangy riffs could be heard on no less than 15 Top 40 hits between 1958 and 1963. He was also one of the first rock stars to successfully crack the LP market.

That low, twangy sound was devised in collaboration with producer Lee Hazlewood, an Arizona disc jockey whom Eddy had met while hanging out at a radio station as a teenager. By the late '50s, Hazlewood had branched out into production. Before Duane began recording, his principal influence had been Chet Atkins, but at Hazlewood's suggestion, he started concentrating on guitar lines at the lower end of the strings. His opening riff of his debut single, "Movin' and Groovin'," would be lifted for the Beach Boys five years later to open "Surfin' U.S.A." It was the next 45, "Rebel Rouser," that would really break up him as a national star, reaching the Top Ten in 1958. Opening with a down-and-dirty, heavily echoed guitar riff, it remains the tune with which he's most often identified.

Eddy's phenomenally successful run of hits over the next few years was to some extent a variation on the "Rebel Rouser" theme. With cowboy whoops from the backup band helping drive things along, they weren't nearly as innovative as work of Link Wray during the same era, but they were much more popular. The singles -- "Peter Gunn," "Cannonball," "Shazam," and "Forty Miles of Bad Road" were probably the best -- also did their part to help keep the raunchy spirit of rock & roll alive, during a time in which it was in danger of being watered down. Much of that raunch was not solely due to Eddy himself, but to the honking sax solos of Steve Douglas, who would go on to become one of the top session players in the industry. Duane would have his biggest hit, however, in 1960, when he sweetened the twang with strings for the movie theme "Because They're Young."

Eddy's records were also huge influences on legions of budding guitar players. In England, the Shadows no doubt took Eddy as one of their chief inspirations for their spare, moody sound, as one listen to their most famous hit, "Apache," makes obvious. More subtly, his influence can also be heard in the work of George Harrison. For evidence, listen to the growling riffs that decorate the verse of "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Eddy started to lose momentum in the early '60s, and left the Jamie label in 1962 for the much bigger RCA. "(Dance With The) Guitar Man," which featured an atypical chorus of female vocals, would be his last Top 20 hit that same year. His albums -- often based on loose themes, like A Million Dollars Worth of Twang, Twisting With Duane Eddy, and Surfing With Duane Eddy -- kept him afloat to some degree. But his style doggedly refused evolution, although scattered cuts indicate he was capable of abandoning the twang for more bluesy or straight-out rock sounds. The British Invasion wiped Duane out commercially, although he recorded intermittently over the next couple of decades. In 1986, he enjoyed a brief comeback when the Art of Noise built their "Peter Gunn" hit around his guest contributions; Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ry Cooder, and Jeff Lynne all helped produce a 1987 album. It's that run of late-'50s and early-'60s hits, though, for which he'll principally be remembered. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Groovy!
Rebel Rouser - Duane Eddy (off Have Twangy Guitar, will travel) - love it, big, bold and rockin', just what we expected in that early rock 'n' roll era. Shame that over the years he's re-recorded several inferior versions not only of this classic but others of his that even subsequent superior technical advances in recording equipment still has been unable to improve on the originals. All the subsequent inferior recordings have achieved is to muddy the quality of his legacy.
dqkfx29ij5
Great twangy/cowbo y guitar.
OMG!!! This song blows my mine!!!
I WILL ALWAYS
ALWAYS
ALWAYS
LOOOOOOOOOOO O O V E DUANE EDDY!!!!!!!!
God I love it...! Each time I hear the PETER GUNN theme, I am immediately taken to the Great Karoo in South African as a thundering steam locomotive trailing a long smoke trace in the western sky manages the business end of a passenger train wheeling fast and heavy into the evening as night overtakes the land. Onward we hurl through the darkness Zimbabwe our destination by dawn…
His guitar made even that piece of garbage sound pretty good.
Yeah...basic and repetitive is not an insult...les s is more...would take this over latter day art/rock progressive 20 minute piles of self indulgent poop.
Mafia 2 joes adventure, this song is playing in the last cutscenes
Movin' N Groovin>>now you're talking Porky Chedwick
rickshouseof b e a u t y s
Great ol music
bevbevan
I was a big fan of instrumental s , especially after the deaths of Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, and Duane Eddy was the perfect choice over the teeny bop idols. He, along with Johnny & The Hurricanes and The Ventures, helped keep me inspired to buy 45's.
Love his music, but never read anything about his 1962 LP Twangy Guitar/ Silky Strings. I have worn out two of them over the years. His rendition of Unchained Melody is awesome!!
I loved Jimi Hendrix's homage to Duane Eddy when he recorded the Peter Gunn Theme. Eddy was a true innovator.
squeax01
His guitar is sooo good. Really makes me happy to listen to him.
Peter Gunn Theme just may be the coooolist riff ever. And coming in 2nd, Now I Wanna Be Your Dog:, by the Stooges. Just sayin'
@ don1983 I'm with you man, no basic repetetive-n e s s to this guy's style whatsoever.. . s h o u l d be deleted above...cuz it's BS dude
Duane Eddy is legendary. Period. Anything he records is sick. Don't disrespect
movin' & and a groovin'
Duane Eddy, have all his albums, wonder why we don't hear anything from him anymore, is he still around?
just love his music back than the artist where alot better, elvis was around,he was and stays the Greatest Entertainer. . e v e r ! thanks , love yoy station keep up the good work
bobosharon1
The best
It's also him in the backing of BJ Thomas' Rock and Roll Lullaby
do yo have rev up or trans miss yun.
Listen to the start of Peter Gunn and the Stones Get Off of My Cloud. Hard to miss the influence.
The Best
i grew up listening to duane eddy,he was good inthe 50s and still good today.
cms0841
he is very good
Duane is still performing and currently(10 / 1 0 ) i s in England,doin g concerts and cutting a new album.
lucky_lou
I Love the Peter Gunn Theme. :)
campprincess k k
Great !
One of the greatest guitar instrumental i s t s next to Link Wray and Dick Dale
don1983
Basic and repetitive? Wait, can't that be said of EVERY genre of music since the original rock and roll of the 50's? Rock, punk, new wave, metal, rap, soul, grunge, etc.etc, what the eff? Duane Eddy has put out some great timeless music that is enjoyed by many people. This critic has produced..NO T H I N G . His writing is basic and repetitive, especially all at once.
'Not The Loving Kind' is one of Eddy's most lyrical and haunting (I assume) covers. The man sure has soul!
phleebusmacg e n t r y
Rebel Rouser got me to buy my first guitar.
I love that twang. My favorite still has to be his treatment of Henry Mancini's 'Peter Gunn.'
In the Pines,what a great oldie. this instrumental version was sure a hit in our household,Ve r y well delivered. It was a little wierd hearing the song with no vocal.Enjoya b l e never the less.
flagday45
Always loved Duane Eddy's "twangy" sound......i t ' s great to hear Rebel Rouser again!

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