October 16, 2011 by Amy Gold
Joel "Taz" DiGregorio (January 8, 1944 - October 12, 2011), a longtime member of the Charlie Daniels Band, died at 67 in an auto accident near Nashville, TN.
He was born William Joel DiGregorio on January 8, 1944. Before joining the Charlie Daniels Band, DiGregorio had been a member of Paul Chaplain and the Emeralds (who had one hit in 1959 with "Shortnin' Bread"). In 1964, he began working with Charlie Daniels, who, at that time, was leading a band known as the Jaguars. In the late 1960s, DiGregorio's music career was interrupted by being drafted into the Army. Upon his return, he rejoined with Daniels and, in 1971, the Charlie Daniels Band was formed with DiGregorio serving as a keyboardist, singer, and songwriter. In later years, DiGregorio also pursued a solo career and in 2008, he recorded two albums, "Midnight in Savannah" and "Shake Rag."
DiGregorio is widely acclaimed as the co-writer of the Charlie Daniels Band smash hit, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" (1979), a mostly spoken song inspired by the Faust legend. This song, which topped the Billboard Country charts and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, features a frenzied violin duo between Satan and a young fiddle player. It was featured in the 1980 movie, "Urban Cowboy," in which the Charlie Daniels Band performs, and in the 1990s, it inspired two sequels that became minor hits on the country charts.