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Golden memories of the master of twang

PUBLISHED: 15:36 25 April 2012

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2012. Pictured: Duane Eddy (Picture: Chris Saunders)

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2012. Pictured: Duane Eddy (Picture: Chris Saunders)

Chris Saunders

Decades after appearing at West Runton Pavilion living legend Duane Eddy is returning to Norfolk - to play the Hippodrome along the coast at Great Yarmouth.

One of the “nicest guys” from the crazy world of pop in the swinging 60s is heading back into Norfolk – his name is Duane Eddy. A true living legend.

There has never been another guitarist quite like him and he was a hero both on and off stage.

“He was a lovely man, Kind and generous – and I can’t wait to see him again,” said Terry Wickham, organiser of the Golden Years and a former member of the local act Exodus. The other members of the Norwich-based band were Rod Emmerson, Mick Betts, Alex Findlow and Martin Slaughter.

Back in the 60s Exodus supported many of the big names who appeared at the West Runton Pavilion – the hotbed of Norfolk rock. “Many of the groups didn’t really want to know us. For them it was just another gig in another place,” said Terry.

“But Duane Eddy was so different and I have never forgotten him. He was a real gentleman who treated everyone with such respect,” he added.

“He was there with his band and some backing singers called The Rebelettes. He was someone we all looked up to. A fantastic musician.

“He thanked us when we came off the stage, he asked the audience to applaud us, and at the end of his act we were invited back on to the stage. That was something special,” said Terry.

Was he as good as his reputation? “Much better. He was brilliant. No-one could make a guitarist sound the way he did. Peter Gunn, Rebel Rouser, Because They’re Young – and the rest. He was unique and we were all very pleased he was such a kind and generous man,” he added.

Duane, now 74, is appearing at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome on Saturday May 19 as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Hippodrome owner and former 60s pop star, Peter Jay, said: “Duane Eddy was an idol of ours as we put together the Jaywalkers and some of our first ever songs we played as a band were his.

“For me personally it will be a very emotional moment to see him perform in my circus – it will be a night of great nostalgia. How many chances do you get to see a living legend?”

As a gesture of thanks for all Terry has done to promote Norfolk music through the Golden Years, which came to an end last week, I presented him with a pair of tickets to see Duane Eddy during the final gig at the UEA last Saturday. The tickets came from the Norfolk & Norwich Festival who also appreciate the work over the last 16 years which Terry has done to celebrate local music.

Duane Eddy is performing at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome on Saturday May 19 at 8pm. Tickets ( £20, £18 and £15) are available from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01603 766400. You can also call in at the Theatre Royal or visit www.nnfestival.org.uk. Coach travel is also available from the Theatre Royal.

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