Without Duane Eddy, these five classics wouldn’t exist

Duane Eddy was the first guitar hero of rock’n’roll. He was only 19 when he started scoring instrumental hits in 1957, showcasing his clean, resonant guitar sound and carefully articulated motifs. 

Aside from his own instrumental classics such as Rebel Rouser and Because They’re Young, the handsome young axeman had such an enormous influence on other players that whenever you hear a twangy guitar riff it would be considered a conscious tribute to Eddy. You can hear his influence in these five classics.

1. The Beatles: Day Tripper (1965)

Duane Eddy’s distinctive guitar style focussed on touch, tone, melody and the spaces between notes, creating twangy riffs and motifs that poked through the sound or floated high above the rhythm section. He was a huge influence on Britain’s first guitar hero, Hank Marvin in the Shadows, and through him the Beatles. 

The magnificent Day Tripper is surely the Fab Four’s most thrilling riff. Picked out of a single chord shape, it was composed by John Lennon and played with typical precision by George Harrison, a close adherent of Eddy’s sculpted approach, who preferred to work parts out carefully rather than indulge in wild improvisation.

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