Iconic rock ‘n’ roll legend Duane Eddy is finally saying goodbye at the age of 86

The world of rock ‘n’ roll has sadly said goodbye to an illustrious figure: Duane Eddy. Eddy’s innovative melodies, his legendary ‘Twang’ sound echoing from his guitar, will forever be etched in the annals of music history. An influential pioneer, he inspired many names as legendary as himself, including Bruce Springsteen and George Harrison. At the age of 86, Eddy strummed his last chord.

The musical maestro surrendered to the clutches of cancer at Williamson Health, Franklin, Tennessee, and according to his wife, Deed Abbate, he died on a Tuesday. Known for his unique, heavy bass sound, Eddy was a household name around the world, having sold as many as a hundred million records worldwide. His unique compositions brought attention to the underrated bass strings that he said sounded so much better on tape.

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Despite his undeniable talent, Eddy humbly admitted in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press: “I’m certainly not one of the best technical players; I simply sell the best. A lot of guys are more skilled than me with the guitar… but some of it is not what I want to hear from the guitar.

Eddy’s signature ‘twang’ permeated his music, from his first album ‘Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel’ to his ’93 box set ‘Twang Thang: The Duane Eddy Anthology’. Despite the silly nickname, he admitted in a ’93 interview, “It’s haunted me for 35 years now, so it almost has sentimental value – if nothing else.”

The musical innovator was deservedly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. His iconic ‘twang’ was the creative result of his collaboration with producer Lee Hazlewood in the late 1950s, a sound that Hazlewood adapted to Nancy Sinatra’s 1960s style. click on “These boots are made for walking.”

After its peak period between 1958 and ’63, the mid-’70s hit ‘Freight Train’ prompted Eddy to slow his pace a bit, he revealed in ’93, reflecting on the status of ‘easy listening hit’, ‘Six or seven years earlier I was on the cutting edge.”

Eddy’s discography includes more than 50 albums, testament to a productive and illustrious career, albeit punctuated by periods of reclusive semi-retirement and quiet from the 1980s onwards, during which he lived solely on royalties.

Eddy remembered “Rebel Rouser” and said, “It was a good title and it was the rockiest rock ‘n’ roll sound. That was different before then.” Eddy’s melodic talent extended from the stage to the big screen, with his scores in films such as ‘Because They’re Young’, ‘Pepe’ and ‘Gidget Goes Hawaiian’.

Born in Corning, New York, Eddy’s love affair with the guitar began at the age of five in Phoenix, where he grew up. He signed his first contract with Jamie Records in Philadelphia in 1958 before rising to fame with his subsequent release, ‘Rebel Rouser’.

Renowned musicians such as Paul McCartney and George Harrison found inspiration in Eddy and even collaborated with him, leading to his contribution to McCartney’s ‘Rockestra Theme’ and Harrison’s appearance on Eddy’s self-titled comeback album, both in 1987.

Emphasizing his instrumental prowess, Eddy joked in 1986, “One of my greatest contributions to the music world isn’t singing.” But Eddy’s contribution was much more profound: a unique soundscape that will resonate for generations to come.