Rock 'n' roll pioneer Duane Eddy died at 86

Richard Thompson and Duane Eddy were honoured for their contributions
Richard Thompson and Duane Eddy were honoured for their contributions

US rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Duane Eddy has died aged 86.

The musician, famous for his twangy guitar sound, made his name with instrumentals such as Rebel Rouser and influenced big names such as Beatles guitarist George Harrison.

He died of on cancer Tuesday at the Williamson Health hospital in Franklin, Tennessee, according to his wife, Deed Abbate.

With his raucous rhythms, and backing hollers and hand claps, Eddy sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and mastered a distinctive sound based on the premise that a guitar’s bass strings sounded better on tape than the high ones.

“I had a distinctive sound that people could recognize and I stuck pretty much with that. I’m not one of the best technical players by any means; I just sell the best,” he told The Associated Press in a 1986 interview.

“A lot of guys are more skillful than I am with the guitar. A lot of it is over my head. But some of it is not what I want to hear out of the guitar.”

“Twang” defined Eddy’s sound from his first album, “Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel,” to his 1993 box set, “Twang Thang: The Duane Eddy Anthology.”

“It’s a silly name for a nonsilly thing,” Eddy told the AP in 1993. “But it has haunted me for 35 years now, so it’s almost like sentimental value — if nothing else.”

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Eddy recorded more than 50 albums, some of them reissues. He did not work too much from the 1980s on, “living off my royalties,” he said in 1986.

Paul McCartney and Harrison were both fans of Eddy and he recorded with both of them after their Beatles’ days. He played on McCartney’s “Rockestra Theme” and Harrison played on Eddy’s self-titled comeback album, both in 1987.