Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy died recently. Here is a memory of the Twangy Guitar Man and a memory of an old school friend, Malcolm Withnall.

   1960 was the year in which Eddy headed a package with Bobby Darin, Clyde McPhatter and Emile Ford on a barnstorming British tour, coinciding with two more concurrent smash chart hits, Shazam! and The ‘Twang’s’ The ‘Thang’, which climbed to No 4 and No 2 respectively. Readers of the New Musical Express voted Eddy the Number One World Musical Personality in the magazine’s annual poll.

Malcolm Withnall and I saw this concert at the Trocadero Elephant and Castle on the 9th April. Amazing. 8.45 pm on a Saturday. No idea how we got there or how we returned to Bognor. I was 17 but knew my way around the railways as an inveterate ‘train spotter’.

I bought all his singles on the London American label. Malcolm and I loved all things American pop and despised Cliff Richard, Vince Eager, Billy Fury and all the other British cover artists of rock and roll. Malcolm sadly died in 2021 so I can’t test his memory and our heroes are also in the main gone.

Malcolm’s favourite was Ricky Nelson – mine Jack Scott, both nearly forgotten now. And not long after this concert the era of the Beatles and Rolling Stones changed pop music for ever. I was at dental school in London from 1961 to 1965 followed by a career in Dentistry.

Malcolm was in horticulture a famed expert on Apples, a writer, teacher and journalist. He trained in horticulture at Wye College and Writtle, and then embarked on a 25-year career in commercial fruit growing, initially as assistant manager at Highland Court Farm, then as manager at Frampton Court Farm, Chichester, and then at Saphire Farms, Kent. Recognising his vocation in education, Malcolm joined Hadlow College as head of Management and Business Studies in 1990, teaching on HND, BSc and specialist fruit courses. He is one of the few lecturers in horticulture to have real commercial farm management experience as a foundation for his teaching.