Jerry Reed (March 20, 1937 - September 1, 2008) was a country/rockabilly/pop-rock singer and songwriter with a trademark tongue-in-cheek style who became famous during the early 1970s. He was also a highly acclaimed session and touring guitarist who played with Elvis Presley and many other top bands and artists. In addition, Reed was a TV and movie actor whose many credits included co-starring and performing in "Concrete Cowboys" and in all three "Smokey And The Bandit" movies.
Born Jerry Reed Hubbard in Atlanta, Georgia, he taught himself to play the guitar as a child and, over the years, developed a signature virtuosic fingerpicking style that later earned him the monikers, "The Guitar Man" and "The Claw." By high school, he was writing songs and performing, and at age 18, recorded his first record with publisher and record producer, Bill Lowery. While completing a two-year stint in the Army, Brenda Lee had a Top 10 in 1960 with her cover of his self-penned "That's All You Gotta Do." In 1961, he moved to Nashville to resume his music career as a songwriter, session guitarist, and solo performing artist.
Reed had his first charting song in 1959 with "Soldier's Joy," which became a minor hit. This was followed by several other hits on the Pop/Rock charts during the early 1960s that also included Reed's "Hully Gully Guitar" (1962) and his cover of the folk standard, "Goodnight, Irene" (1962). He made his debut on the Country charts in 1967 with "Guitar Man," a song he wrote that later also became a hit for Elvis Presley. Reed's fame took off during the early 1970s with such Pop/Rock crossover favorites as the Creole-flavored "Amos Moses" (1970), the wise cracking "When You're Hot, You're Hot" (1971), and the rollicking "Lord, Mr. Ford" (1973). Reed also co-wrote and performed "East Bound And Down," the theme from "Smokey And The Bandit" which reached #2 on the Country charts in 1977. His long string of hits, which continued on both the Pop/Rock and Country charts through the early 1980s, also included "Ko-Ko Joe" (1971), "Alabama Wild Man" (1972), "Another Puff" (1972), "The Crude Oil Blues" (1974), "She Got The Goldmine (I Got The Shaft)" (1982), and "The Bird" (1982).
Reed was an accomplished songwriter who, besides penning most of his own hits, also wrote many songs as made famous by other performing artists. These included such country and pop-rock classics as Johnny Cash's "If The Good Lord's Willing And The Creek Don't Rise" (1958) and "A Thing Called Love" (1972), Elvis Presley's "U.S. Male" (1968) and "Guitar Man" (1968), Gene Vincent's "Crazy Legs" (1957), and Porter Wagoner's "Misery Loves Company" (1962).
Reed was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017. His many other honors and accolades also included two CMA awards and three Grammys and being inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
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