Duane J. Eddy

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Duane J. Eddy

Birthplace: Corning, Steuben County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Lloyd Delmar Eddy and <private> Granger
Husband of <private> Johnson
Father of <private> Eddy
Brother of <private> Eddy and <private> Eddy

Occupation: Musician, actor, composer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Duane J. Eddy


Duane Eddy (born April 26, 1938) is a Grammy Award-winning American guitarist. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he had a string of hit records, produced by Lee Hazlewood, which were noted for their characteristically "twangy" sound, including "Rebel Rouser", "Peter Gunn", and "Because They're Young". He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Early life and career

Born in Corning, New York, he began playing the guitar at the age of five. In 1951 his family moved to Tucson, and then to Coolidge, Arizona. At the age of 16 he obtained a Chet Atkins model Gretsch guitar, and formed a duo, Jimmy and Duane, with his friend Jimmy Delbridge (who later recorded as Jimmy Dell). While performing at local radio station KCKY they met disc jockey Lee Hazlewood, who produced the duo's single, "Soda Fountain Girl", recorded and released in 1955 in Phoenix. Hazlewood then produced Sanford Clark's 1956 hit, "The Fool", featuring guitarist Al Casey, while Eddy and Delbridge performed and appeared on radio stations in Phoenix before joining Buddy Long's Western Melody Boys, playing country music in and around the city.

Eddy devised a technique of playing lead on his guitar's bass strings to produce a low, reverberant "twangy" sound. In November 1957, Eddy recorded an instrumental, "Moovin' n' Groovin'", co-written by Eddy and Hazlewood. As the Phoenix studio had no echo chamber, Hazlewood bought a 2,000 gallon water storage tank which he used as an echo chamber to accentuate the "twangy" guitar sound. Eddy signed a contract with Philadelphia-based Jamie Records. "Moovin' n' Groovin'" reached #72 on the Hot 100 in early 1958; the opening riff was copied a few years later by The Beach Boys on "Surfin' U.S.A.". For the follow-up, "Rebel-'Rouser", the record featured overdubbed saxophone by Los Angeles session musician Gil Bernal and yells and handclaps by doo-wop group The Rivingtons. The tune became Eddy's big, breakthrough hit, reaching #6 on the chart.

Eddy had a succession of hit records over the next few years, and his band members, including Steve Douglas, saxophonist Jim Horn and keyboard player Larry Knechtel would go on to work as part of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew". According to writer Richie Unterberger, "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." On January 9, 1959, Eddy’s debut album, Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel, was released, reaching #5, and remaining on the album charts for 82 weeks. Eddy's biggest hit came with the theme to the movie Because They're Young in 1960, which featured a string arrangement, and reached a chart peak of #4 in America and #2 in the UK in September 1960. Eddy's records were equally successful in the UK, and in 1960, readers of the UK's New Musical Express voted him World's Number One Musical Personality, ousting Elvis Presley.

He gained a well earned reputation in the industry for identifying and grooming musical talent and encouraging his band members to secure regular studio work. Those who benefited from this philanthropic approach included Steve Douglas, Jim Horn and Larry Knechtel who all went on to achieve great success as studio musicians.

Later career

During the 1960s Eddy launched an acting career, appearing in such films as A Thunder of Drums, The Wild Westerners, Kona Coast, The Savage Seven, and two appearances on the television series Have Gun–Will Travel. He was married to singer Jessi Colter from 1962 to 1968.

In the 1970s, he produced album projects for Phil Everly and Waylon Jennings. In 1975, a collaboration with hit songwriter Tony Macaulay and former founding member of The Seekers, Keith Potger, led to a worldwide top ten record, "Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar". The single, "You Are My Sunshine", featuring Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, hit the country charts in 1977. He also recorded an album of completely acoustic music, Songs of Our Heritage.

In 1986, Eddy recorded with Art of Noise, remaking his 1960 version of Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn". The song was a Top Ten hit around the world, ranking #1 on Rolling Stone Magazine's dance chart for six weeks that summer. "Peter Gunn" won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental of 1986. It also gave Eddy the distinction of being the only instrumentalist to have had Top 10 hit singles in four different decades in Great Britain. (although his 1970's top 10 hit featured a female vocal group).

The following year, a new album, the self-titled Duane Eddy, was released on Capitol. Several of the tracks were produced by Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne, Ry Cooder, and Art of Noise. Guest artists and musicians included John Fogerty, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ry Cooder, James Burton, David Lindley, Steve Cropper, and original Rebels, Larry Knechtel and Jim Horn. The album included a cover of Paul McCartney's 1979 instrumental, "Rockestra Theme". In 1992 Duane did a duet with Hank Marvin on Hank's album Into the Light, with a cover version of The Chantays' 1963 hit "Pipeline".

In the spring of 1994, Eddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Eddy's "Rebel-Rouser" was featured that same year in Forrest Gump. Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers used "The Trembler", a track written by Eddy and Ravi Shankar. Also in 1994, Eddy teamed up with Carl Perkins and The Mavericks to contribute "Matchbox" to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country produced by the Red Hot Organization. Eddy was the lead guitarist on Foreigner's 1995 hit "Until the End of Time", which reached the top ten on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. In 1996, Eddy joined Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack of Broken Arrow.

On 5 April 2000, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, the title "Titan of Twang" was bestowed upon Eddy by the mayor.

In 2004, Eddy was presented with the Guitar Player Magazine "Legend Award". Eddy was the second recipient of the award, the first having been presented to Les Paul. Among those who have openly acknowledged his influence are George Harrison, Dave Davies (of the Kinks), Hank Marvin (of the Shadows), the Ventures, John Entwistle (of the Who), Bruce Springsteen, Adrian Belew, Bill Nelson (of Be-Bop Deluxe), and Mark Knopfler.

October 2010 witnessed a return to the UK at a sold out Royal Festival Hall, London at which he was given a 10 minute standing ovation before he had played a note or spoken a word. Following the concert an equally appreciative ovation was warmly bestowed upon him cementing his affection and appreciation of his UK and European audiences. This success promulgated the subsequent album for Mad Monkey/EMI produced by Richard Hawley in Sheffield UK.

On 20 June 2011, he released the album Road Trip produced by UK band Pulp Guitarist Richard Hawley which has been well received by music trades and the UK national press critics alike.

He appeared at the world famous Glastonbury Festival on 26 June 2011.

Signature guitars

Duane Eddy was the first rock and roll guitarist to have a signature model guitar. In 1960, Guild Guitars introduced the Duane Eddy Models DE-400 and the deluxe DE-500. A limited edition of the DE-500 model was reissued briefly in 1983 to mark Eddy's 25th anniversary in the recording industry.

The Gretsch "Chet Atkins 6120" model has long been associated with Eddy. In 1997, Gretsch Guitars started production of the Duane Eddy Signature Model, the Gretsch 6120-DE. In 2004, The Gibson Custom Art and Historic Division introduced the new Duane Eddy Signature Gibson guitar.

A new Gretsch G6120DE Duane Eddy Signature model was released Spring 2011.


Number One World Musical Personality in the NME Poll (UK; 1960)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member (1994)

Grammy Winner Best Rock Instrumental Peter Gunn (1986)

Grammy Nomination Best Country Instrumental (Doc Watson album) (1992)

Rockwalk Induction (1997)

Presented with "Chetty" award by Chet Atkins (2000)

Guitar Player Magazine Legend Award (2004)

Musicians Hall of Fame Member (2008)

Mojo Icon Award (UK: 2010)


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Duane J. Eddy's Timeline

April 26, 1938
Corning, Steuben County, New York, United States