February 13, 2016
With his 1958 hit “Rebel Rouser,” Duane Eddy became the first solo instrumental hero of rock & roll. “Duane Eddy was the front guy, the first rock & roll guitar god,” said John Fogerty, one of thousands of musicians who credit Eddy as a chief influence. Born in Corning, New York, Eddy moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in his early teens. With help from producer Lee Hazlewood, he developed a signature guitar style, full of twang and bluster, and he recorded hit singles including “Cannonball,” “Forty Miles of Bad Road,” “Because They’re Young,” and “(Dance with the) Guitar Man.”
He also embraced country and jazz influences, and collaborated with titans including Willie Nelson, George Harrison, Waylon Jennings, Chet Atkins, Paul McCartney, and Phil Everly. Eddy’s low-toned, tremulous twang is echoed in hit songs by others, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and Steve Earle’s “Guitar Town.” The program was presented in support of the exhibition American Sound and Beauty: Guitars from the Bachman-Gretsch Collection, included photos, video and audio samples of Eddy’s work, and a performance by Eddy.