Duane Eddy, Legendary Rock & Roll Guitarist, Passes Away at 86

Duane Eddy, the guitar legend who brought the twang to rock’n’roll’s golden era, has left us. The Associated Press shared the sad news. He passed away due to cancer complications on a Tuesday in Franklin, Tennessee. His wife, Deed Abbate, confirmed this. At the age of 86, he had lived a full life.

A self-taught musician, Eddy had a knack for the bass strings of his guitar. He felt the lead lines resonated better there than on the higher pitches. With a twist of his vibrato bar, he discovered that sweet spot of sound. That twang became his hallmark. Hits like “Rebel Rouser” and “Forty Miles of Bad Road” were just the beginning. Over 100 million records sold worldwide, and his influence reached stars like George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix.

Eddy’s early work was a collaboration with Lee Hazlewood, a producer who would later bring that twang to Nancy Sinatra’s hits. Eddy also worked with the Wrecking Crew, a group of session musicians that became legends in their own right. His backing band, the Rebels, included talents like guitarist Al Casey and saxophonist Jim Horn.

From his debut in 1958 with Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel, Eddy’s discography grew to over 50 albums. In just five years, he scored 15 Top 40 hits. But by 1970, after releasing “Freight Train,” he decided to take a step back and live off his royalties. A rare move among his peers.

Eddy never saw himself as a singer, nor did he boast about his guitar skills. In a 1986 interview with The Associated Press, he admitted to not being the most technically skilled. But that didn’t matter. His sound was what people wanted. And that sound? It wasn’t just for the ears of his era. It transcended, finding its way into movies across genres. From westerns to modern classics like Forrest Gump and Natural Born Killers, his music left an indelible mark.

His tracks weren’t just background music; they were part of the narrative. Eddy even had the chance to compose a James Bond theme. He turned it down, though, citing a lack of guitar in the franchise’s music. A decision that speaks volumes about his commitment to his signature sound.

Noah Mitchell
Noah Mitchell
Noah Mitchell is a senior music writer at SongsDetails.com. Noah has been passionately covering the music industry for over five years, with a particular focus on live performances and the latest updates on artists.