Duane Eddy was born in Corning, New York, on the 26th April, 1938.
At five years old his father taught him a few chords on the guitar and by the age of 10 the country music loving youngster had notched up his first radio broadcast.
The family moved to Tucson, Arizona, when he was 13 and a couple of years later Duane teamed up with local boy Jimmy Delbridge (later shortened to Jimmy Dell) to form a duo, performing at dances and on radio.
Lee Hazlewood was a local DJ who had organised a couple of radio spots for the boys and saw huge potential in the young guitarist with the big-sounding Gretsch guitar. They decided to cut some instrumentals and realising that the bass strings recorded with a fuller more powerful sound, started to experiment in the studio. Those early recordings took place in Floyd Ramsey's studio in Phoenix with Lee Hazlewood & Lester Sill producing and Jack Miller engineering.
The trademark 'big' echo sound came courtesy of a large empty water tank situated in the yard, miked up and fed to the recording desk. The tapes were then sent to LA for sax overdubs and rebel yells, a distinct feature on Duane's records.
Those early sides were issued on the Jamie label and for many folk this period is regarded as Eddy's finest.
Classic twangy instros like Rebel Rouser, Forty Miles of Bad Road, Shazam, The Lonely One, Because They're Young, Ramrod, Some Kinda Earthquake, 3.30 Blues and Pepe made Duane Eddy a household name around the world.
To this day he enjoys a very large and loyal fan base.
By early 1962 Duane had signed with RCA and the benefit of better recording facilities gave record buyers a more refined twang that remained commercial and enjoyable.
His biggest hit for RCA was Dance With the Guitar Man with its catchy girlie chorus and twangy guitar riffs. After several 45rpms and albums for RCA including the LPs Twang a Country Song and Water Skiing, Duane struck a deal with Colpix records and released a couple of singles plus the albums Duane A Go Go and Duane Does Bob Dylan.
A stint with Reprise Records followed, producing more 45s and albums in the shape of Biggest Twang of Them All, The Roaring Twangies and the highly sought after Tokyo Hits.
THE UNDISPUTED KING OF TWANG
By the late sixties the instrumental scene was in decline and it wasn't until 1975 that Duane Eddy had another taste of success with the GTO 7" Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar from the album Guitar Man.
Songsmith and producer Tony Macaulay had written several mega hits and offered to produce an album for Duane. Guitar Man was recorded in England in October 1974 and saw a return to the format of twangy guitar and girlie vocal on a handful of tracks.
Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar charted in '75 and gave Duane the opportunity to promote the record on BBC TV's Top of the Pops.
Over the next 10 years Duane was invited to guest on a handful of records and also produced albums for various artists in the US, but there was precious little in the way of new Duane Eddy recordings.
In 1986 The Art of Noise featuring Duane and his twangy guitar scored a Top 10 hit with a revamped electronic version of Peter Gunn and won a Grammy Award in the category for Best Rock Instrumental of 1986.
In January/February 1987 Duane was back in the UK recording tracks for a brand new album on Capitol records, Duane Eddy. With contributions from George Harrison, Jeff Lynne (who also produced), Ry Cooder, James Burton and a host of other famed musicians, it was a scorcher.
In the early 1990s Eddy toured the UK as support act for The Everlys and also deputised for the late Del Shannon on a British tour that also included The Crickets and Tommy Roe.
In 1994 Duane Eddy was officially recognised as a rock 'n' roll pioneer and inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The next studio album arrived in 1996 with the Curb Records release Ghostrider - Great Guitar Hits. On Ghostrider Duane re-visited a handful of his old Jamie tracks including Rebel Rouser, Cannonball and Because They're Young plus taped a cool interpretation of Ghost Riders in the Sky and 3 new songs co-written by Eddy, Dreams of Home, Sidewinder and Return of the Avenger.
In 1997 Duane was inducted into the Rockwalk and committed his signature and hand prints into the cement for eternity.
The ensuing years have been relatively quiet with just the occasional live performance or guest appearance on record or TV.
2004 saw the introduction of the new Gibson Duane Eddy Signature Model guitar, built to Duane's specifications by the Gibson Custom Art and Historic Division.
Finished in Rockabilly Brown with specially designed Seymour Duncan pickups, the instrument is a beauty and in Duane's hands sounds tremendous.
Later that year, he was presented with the Guitar Player Magazine Legend Award, having the distinction of being only the second recipient, the first having been presented to Duane's own guitar hero, Les Paul.
Loyal followers of Duane Eddy have been richly rewarded every year since 2004 with a free Christmas song download. It has now become a tradition and something that fans look forward to over the festive season.
In 2011 a new album Road Trip gave Duane's career a boost resulting in a few live dates in the UK and an appearance at Glastonbury in June 2011.
The album has just had a US release so that could signal a lot more from Mr Eddy.
Just goes to prove that the Twang is certainly still the Thang!