As part of its Nashville Cats series and to also coincide with the American Sound and Beauty: Guitars from the Bachman-Gretsch Collection exhibition, the Country Music Hall of Fame recently paid tribute to legendary Gretsch artist Duane Eddy with a special event at its museum.
With his 1958 hit “Rebel Rouser,” Eddy became the first solo instrumental hero of rock and roll.
“Duane Eddy was the front guy, the first rock & roll guitar god,” said John Fogerty, who credits Eddy as a chief influence.
A member of both the Musicians Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Eddy was born in Corning, New York, and then moved to Phoenix 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.”
Eddy also embraced country and jazz influences, and collaborated with titans including Willie Nelson, George Harrison, Waylon Jennings, Chet Atkins, Paul McCartney, and Phil Everly.
His 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, held on Saturday, Feb. 13, included photos, video and audio samples of Eddy’s work, as well as a performance by the King of Twang. In case you missed the live stream, the archived version is now available for your enjoyment below.