Remembering Duane Eddy’s Influence on Rock’n’Roll

Before The Beatles, this guitarist paved the way to top-40 hits.

Duane Eddy

Guitar Star: The Complete RCA Singles A’s and B’s

Real Gone Music

Stephanie Weiss Publicity

Before The Beatles came along and upended the established order, instrumentals were a staple of Top 40 radio, and guitar-slinger Duane Eddy led the field. Guitar Star picks up the story in 1962, after Eddy had scored his biggest hits, including “Rebel-Rouser,” for the Jamie label, but it’s a fine introduction to his music regardless. In fact, this engaging 22-track set makes a strong case for Eddy’s surprising versatility, encompassing everything from his signature twangy riffs and slinky blues to creamy easy listening. Among the collaborators are Lee Hazlewood (composer of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”), David Gates (future leader of Bread), and Darlene Love (from Phil Spector’s Crystals). If Eddy seems hopelessly dated today, there’s still no denying the enduring appeal of these kitschy gems.