Iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll Legend Duane Eddy Bids Final Farewell at 86

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The world of rock ‘n’ roll has sadly bid farewell to an illustrious figure—Duane Eddy. The innovative melodies of Eddy, his legendary “Twang” sound echoing from his guitar will forever be etched in the annals of music history. An influential trailblazer, he inspired a host of names as legendary as himself, Bruce Springsteen and George Harrison among them. At the ripe age of 86, Eddy has strummed his last chord.

The musical maestro surrendered to the claws of cancer in Williamson Health, Franklin, Tennessee, and according to his wife, Deed Abbate, he passed away on a Tuesday. Eddy, noted for his unique bass-string heavy sound, was a household name across the globe, with a staggering hundred million records sold worldwide. His unique compositions brought attention to the underappreciated bass strings he felt 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 by no means one of the best technical players; I just sell the best. A lot of guys are more skillful than I am with the guitar… but some of it is not what I want to hear out of the guitar.”

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

The musical innovator was rightly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. His iconic “twang” was the creative outcome of his collaboration with producer Lee Hazlewood in the late ’50s, a sound that was adapted by Hazlewood into Nancy Sinatra’s 1960s hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.’”

After his chart-busting peak period between 1958 and ’63, the mid-1970’s hit “Freight Train” prompted Eddy to slow his pace a bit, he revealed in ’93, reflecting on its “easy listening hit” status, “Six or seven years before, I was on the cutting edge.”

Eddy’s discography boasts over 50 albums, a testament to a prolific and illustrious career, albeit punctuated with periods of reclusive semi-retirement and laying low from the 1980s, living solely off royalties.

Recalling “Rebel Rouser,” Eddy stated, “It was a good title and it was the rockest rock ‘n’ roll sound. It was different for the time.” Eddy’s melodious prowess extended beyond the stage to the big screen, with his scores featuring in films like “Because They’re Young,” “Pepe,” and “Gidget Goes Hawaiian.”

Born in Corning, New York, Eddy’s love affair with the guitar began at the tender age of five in Phoenix where he was raised. He signed his first contract with Jamie Records in Philadelphia in 1958 before achieving stardom with his subsequent release, “Rebel Rouser.”

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

Emphasizing his instrumental prowess, Eddy quipped in 1986, “One of my biggest contributions to the music business is not singing.” But Eddy’s contribution was far more profound: a unique soundscape that will resonate for generations to come.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.