In Memoriam: Jerry Reed (1937-2008)

Country music suffered the loss of a legend yesterday.   Jerry “The Guitar Man” Reed was a tremendously talented performer best known for his stunning instrumental prowess and bitingly funny hits like “Lord Mr. Ford”, “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” , “Amos Moses” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)”.  He was also well known for his role in Smokey & The Bandit.

There’s an excellent rundown of his diverse and successful entertainment career in today’s Tennessean, and it ends with the following quote from Reed himself:

“Every dream I ever dreamed came true in my life,” he told interviewer Calvin Gilbert in 2005. “I got to write hit songs… And I got to be on phonograph records… I’m a cotton mill boy, and I got to go to Hollywood. Can you imagine that? Why, yeah, my goodness gracious. Go figure.”

Here’s a pair of clips of Reed at his best:


  1. Sad news for country music. I think he had a music video in the early 90s that was an instrumental only. Am I correct here? Anybody know?

  2. Jerry was that rare breed – a successful songwriter, actor, singer and musician.

    As a musician he was incredibly influential, other than Chet Atkins who regarded Jerry as a peer, probably the best picker in country music.

    No knock on Steve Wariner, Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Glen Campbell and Brad Paisley but Jerry Reed was the hottest of the hot pickers.

  3. And to have no less a man than Elvis record two of your best early compositions–“Guitar Man” and “US Male”–and turn them into big hits says a lot. Jerry will definitely be missed.

  4. This news made me very sad–Jerry Reed did indeed die on the young side. He was one of my favorites. Love, love, LOVE “Guitar Man” and “East Bound and Down.” RIP, Jerry, and thanks for all you did for country music.

  5. As we lose another legend in country music, at the risk of sounding repetitive, they just don’t make ’em like they used to.
    R.I.P. “Snowman”

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