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The Villages
Friday, June 21, 2024

Duane Eddy was first rock-n-roll guitar god

Dr. Gabe Mirkin

Duane Eddy was known as ‘The first “rock-n-roll guitar god” because he was the most commercially-successful instrumental-only artist in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. His style influenced the Shadows, the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. His recordings sold more than 100 million records worldwide and had 27 Billboards Hot Hundred Top 40 hits. He won a Grammy for best rock instrumental in 1986, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2008, and received a Rockwalk in 1997.

His wife for 41 years, Deed Abbate, told the news media that he died on April 30, 2024 at age 86 from cancer, but I was unable to find out what particular type of cancer caused his death. He almost died from hemorrhaging from a ruptured aortic aneurysm in 2013, at age 76.

His Rise to Fame
Eddy was born in Corning, New York and raised in New York State. He started to play the guitar at the age of five. In his teens, he moved with his family to Tucson and then to Coolidge, Arizona, where he recorded several Rock-n-roll guitar instrumentals. He did not have an outstanding singing voice, so instead of singing the words of a song, he would substitute plucking on his guitar’s bass strings to produce a low twangy sound. In 1958 at age 18, he was encouraged by a local DJ named Lee Hazelwood to record his instrumental “Rebel Rouser”, which became an instant success and was the 6th top hit in the country. He was now a successful instrumentalist and followed with two more top 10 singles “Forty Miles of Bad Road” (No. 9) and “Because They’re Young” (No. 4). In his late twenties, he appeared in several films, including “Because They’re Young”, “A Thunder of Drums”, “The Wild Westerners”, “Kona Coast”, and “The Savage Seven.” He also appeared on several television series.

His Marriages

  • Carol Fowler (? – 1961) (divorced, 2 children)
  • Jessi Colter (February 3, 1962 – 1968) (divorced, 1 child)
    In 1961, at age 23, he married 18-year-old singer Miriam Johnson. They recorded several gospel music hits, had a daughter. and divorced in 1968. In 1969, his former wife met the very-famous country singer, Waylon Jennings, and he helped her sign a recording contract with RCA Victor. Mariam Johnson changed her name to Jesse Coulter and married Waylon Jennings, and they became one of the top country duos.
  • Maureen A Power (October 12, 1971 – March 22, 1979) (divorced)
  • Diane Mary ‘Deed’ Abbate (December 17, 1979 – until his death on April 30, 2024.

After divorcing Jessi Coulter, Eddy was a very famous and successful instrumentalist with more than thirty hits on top pop charts. He was a guitarist for many singers such as Waylon Jennings and B.J. Thomas, and his style inspired George Harrison, Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen, Marty Stuart and many others. Some members of his band went on to form the “Wrecking Crew”, a Los Angeles-based group that became very famous in the 60s and ’70s.

What is Cancer?
All normal cells are programmed to live only for a limited time and then die. For example, skin cells live only 28 days and then die. This is healthful and is called apoptosis. Cancer means that the DNA in cells that limit the lifetime of a cell is damaged, so that the cell tries to live forever and they can become so numerous that they can invade and destroy other normal tissues. For example, a woman does not die from breast cancer as long as the cancer remains in the breast. However, if the breast cancer cells invade the liver or the brain, they destroy the normal function of these essential organs and the person dies from liver or brain damage. Everybody makes cancer cells every day, but your immune system recognizes that cancer cells are different from normal cells and works to kill these cancer cells in the same way it works to kill invading germs. You suffer from cancer when your immune system fails to recognize and kill cancer cells as it normally does.

Lessons from Duane Eddy’s Death
The best way to help prevent some cancers is to choose your parents wisely, since heredity and genetics can be important risk factors. Beyond that, many different factors can damage the genetic material called DNA in cells so that they don’t undergo normal apoptosis and die. These factors include:

  • smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke
  • exposure to sun and tanning beds
  • overweight and obesity
  • excessive alcohol use
  • exposure to toxic chemicals
  • a pro-inflammatory diet
  • lack of exercise
  • infectious diseases – see Every New Contact Puts You At Risk for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a Villager. Learn more at www.drmirkin.com

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