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Profile: Duane Eddy


Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy

source: myspace.com


April 26, 1938, Corning, NY


Instrumental rock, Rockabilly, Rock and roll



Contributions to music:

  • Rock's first "guitar god"
  • The world's most popular rock instrumentalist
  • Introduced several modifications and innovations which helped shape the birth of the modern electric guitar
  • A major influence on Surf/Hot Rod music as well as the British Invasion
  • Has sold more than 100 million records worldwide
  • The first rock guitarist to have his own signature guitar produced (1960 Guild Duane Eddy DE-400 and DE-500)

Early years:

Duane picked up a guitar at the age of five, inspired by "singing cowboy" Gene Autry, and by the age of 16 had dropped out of high school to concentrate on performing; it was here in his new home of Phoenix that Eddy met local DJ Lee Hazelwood, who saw promise in the young guitarist. While gigging locally with rockabilly mainstay Al Casey, Duane had developed the idea of playing the bass strings of his guitar to create a deep, "twangy" sound; together, he and Hazelwood developed it, recording the guitarist's Chet Atkins signature Gretsch guitar in a giant, empty water tower to give him tons of echo.


Hazelwood's connections got Eddy a deal with Dick Clark's Jamie label in 1958, but his debut single, "Moovin' and Groovin'," failed to reach the Top 40. (It would be reissued with more success later.) It was the next release, "Rebel Rouser," that secured Eddy's place in rock history, complete with honking sax and rebel yells, a formula that kept him popular through the early Sixties. Never one to ignore a trend, Duane also recorded albums of surf music, scored westerns, recorded an unplugged Dylan tribute, and even added vocals and strings to some songs. He also tried his hand at acting, both on the big screen and TV.

Later years:

Eddy's style was destined to become dated, although he continued to record through the early Seventies, often cited as an early influence by George Harrison and John Fogerty, among others. In 1986, a career revival came from a very unlikely place; British synth-poppers Art of Noise duetted with him on a remake of his famous "Peter Gunn" theme, garnering him a surprise international hit and a Grammy for Best Instrumental performance. Eddy continues to perform and record today; in 2004, Gibson introduced a signature Duane Eddy model.

Other facts:

  • Eddy's 1959 hit "Some Kinda Earthquake" remains the shortest song to ever hit the American Top 40, clocking in at 1:17
  • The Beach Boys quote the intro to "Moovin' and Groovin'" on their 1963 hit "Surfin' U.S.A."
  • Darlene Love and the Blossoms sing backup on Eddy's 1962 hit "Dance With The Guitar Man"
  • The 1959 album Have 'Twangy' Guitar - Will Travel stayed on the Billboard charts for a record 82 weeks
  • Saxophonist Steve Douglas and keyboardist Larry Knectel went on to join the legendary Sixties L.A. session group The Wrecking Crew
  • The Sharps, who backed Eddy vocally on "Rebel Rouser," went on to become the Rivingtons


  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994)
  • GRAMMY Award (1986)
  • Guitar Player Magazine Legend Award (2004)

Recorded work:

Top 10 hits:
  • "Rebel Rouser" (1958)
  • "Forty Miles Of Bad Road" (1959)
  • "Because They're Young" (1960)
  • "Rebel Rouser" (1958)
Top 10 albums:
  • Have 'Twangy' Guitar - Will Travel (1959)
  • $1,000,000.00 Worth Of Twang (1961)
Other popular recordings: "Peter Gunn," "Cannonball," "Moovin' N' Groovin'," "Stalkin'," "Detour," "Three-30-Blues," "I Almost Lost My Mind," "Have Love, Will Travel," "Quiniela," "Tiger Love And Turnip Greens," "Trambone," "Route Number 1," "Ramrod," "First Love, First Tears," "Some Kind-A Earthquake," "Yep!" "Rebel Walk," "The Lonely One," "The Quiet Three" "Bonnie Came Back," "Shazam!" "Drivin' Home," "My Blue Heaven," "Pepe," "Ring Of Fire," "Theme From Dixie," "Dance With The Guitar Man," "Deep In The Heart Of Texas," "The Ballad Of Paladin," "Boss Guitar," "Lonely Boy, Lonely Guitar," "Your Baby's Gone Surfin'," "The Son Of Rebel Rouser," "Sugar Foot Rag," "The Window Up Above," "Crazy Arms," "One Mint Julep," "Hard Times," "Swanee River Rock," "Buckaroo," "Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar," "Roadhouse Boogie," "Zephyr Cove," "Road Race," "The Trembler," "Play Me Like You Would Play Your Guitar"
Appears on: "Rock And Roll Lullaby," B. J. Thomas
Covered by: Art Of Noise, The Ventures, Albert Lee
Appears in the movies: "Because They're Young" (1960), "A Thunder Of Drums" (1962), "The Wild Westerners" (1962), "Kona Coast" (1968), "The Savage Seven" (1968), "Sing a Country Song" (1973)
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