Jerry Reed, 'The Guitar Man', dies

3rd Sep 2008 | 19:45

Jerry Reed, 'The Guitar Man', dies

Legend of country picking passes away

Guitarist/singer-turned-actor Jerry Reed, known as The Guitar Man of country music, has died aged 71.

Reed released more than 40 albums over a mammoth career that began when he was only 18.

In the US, Reed had a string of hits that ran from 1967 to 1983. He won a Grammy for his 1971 single, When You're Hot, You're Hot and he scored another Number 1 with She Got The Goldmine (I Got The Shaft).

(Now that's what MusicRadar calls a song title. Even if it's actually about a divorce.)

Two more Grammys arrived for his collaborations with fellow country pioneer Chet Atkins, and Reed also toured with Ringo Starr.

Elvis Presley covered Reed's Guitar Man during his iconic 1968 Comeback Special, and the star played in his trademark 'claw-lick' style on the Elvis studio recording.

"A complete master"

In later years, Reed became better known as a comedic actor, appearing in Burt Reynolds' Smokey And The Bandit films, and with Adam Sandler in The Waterboy.

But it's as a guitarist that Reed really made his mark with fellow musicians. His song The Claw is a famed piece of technical playing.

Modern country guitar's favourite son Brad Paisley commented: "Anyone who picks a country guitar knows of his mastery of the instrument - one of the most inspirational stylists in the history of country music, a complete master.

"I'm in debt to him for paving the way for myself and the other guitarists of today."

Reed wasn't the most fashionable of artists, but he had great talent. Watch Jerry Reed play Lightning Rod in 1977.

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