Breaking News: Jerry Reed Passes Away At Age 71

Jim Malec | September 2nd, 2008

As reported by Peter Cooper of The Tennessean, country music legend Jerry Reed has passed away today at age 71.

“Jerry Reed, country music’s howling virtuoso and a star of stage, studio and screen, has died. Born Jerry Reed Hubbard, Mr. Reed suffered from emphysema and was in hospice care. He was 71, and he leaves an unparalleled legacy of laughter and song.”

More reaction to Reed’s passing:


“Although he was nicknamed “The Guitar Man,” Reed was also known for his comedic roles in the films Smokey and the Bandit and The Waterboy. Elvis Presley recorded two of Reed’s songs, “U.S. Male” and “Guitar Man,” and was invited by Presley’s producer to play his distinctive “claw-style” guitar licks on the studio recordings as well.”

Michael Corcoran from

“I can’t forget the first time I heard “Amos Moses” on the radio in late 1970. Tony Joe White (“Polk Salad Annie”), Dusty Springfield (“Son of a Preacher Man”), Bobbie Gentry (“Ode To Billy Joe”) and Creedence had pioneered the “rural contemporary” sub-genre, bringing the deep down south to the top of the pop charts, but nothing prepared me for that chompin,’ searin’ bayou riff rock that sprung from the guitar and vocals of Jerry Reed. After I picked myself off the floor, I went to the BX at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho, and let out a squeal when I found “Amos Moses.” It was my favorite record for a long time.”

Jack Ryan from The Post Chronicle:

“Jerry was one of the best players ever. I remember watching him and Paul Yandell on TV years ago. He had fingers faster than lighting!”


“Before he became “The Snowman” sidekick in “Smokey & The Bandit,” he was already regarded as an accomplished musician, known for his syncopated guitar work…”

John Gerome from AP:

“Born in Atlanta, Reed learned to play guitar at age 8 when his mother bought him a $2 guitar and showed him how to play a G-chord.

He dropped out of high school to tour with Ernest Tubb and Faron Young.

At 17, he signed his first recording contract, with Capitol Records.”

Reed’s booking agent, Carrie Moore-Reed (no relation) via AP:

“He’s one of the greatest entertainers in the world. That’s the way I feel about him.”

Jerry Reed, from a 2007 interview with The Tennessean (Via Arbogast on Film)

“We live this life like what’s down here is what it’s all about. We’re temporary, son, like a wisp of smoke.”

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  1. [...] R.I.P., Jerry Reed. [...]
  1. Rick
    September 2, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about Jerry Reed’s passing. He was one of the most unique artists and personalities in country music history. Who else but Jerry could have pulled off songs like “She Got The Gold Mine, I Got The Shaft”, and “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”, and “Amos Moses” is still one of my favorite country songs ever. He will be missed….

  2. tom patterson
    September 2, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    jerry reed is on of the last great guitar players. He could hold his own with the best which was also his best friend (chet atkins). as with chet he will be sadly missed. My condolences go out to his family.

  3. Paula
    September 2, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    my daughter and i just spent an hour watching youtube clips.

  4. scooter
    September 5, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Great guitarist. I remember trying to figure out how to play “the claw” that he did with chet atkins. I never even got close until I bought the sheet music. I don’t think most people knew how good he was on guitar.

  5. Lisa Fitch
    September 7, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I was so deeply saddened to learn of Jerry Reeds passsing. Back in the late 70′s, we went to a concert at Dayton (OH’S) Memorial Auditorium to see him perform. My mother and her friend had backstage “press passes”, so my mom came and got my sister and I from the audience. I was maybe 13 and my sister 6. I remember Jerry carrying my little sister around backstage like she belonged to him. I have met many fine artists, but there will never be another “Jerry Reed”. He was awesome in my book, we have pictures that were taken with him that night. He was truly a gentleman. Country music has lost another great, but our loss truly is Heavens gain. God Bless you Jerry, we will always love and remember you, and “Guitar Man” I pray the Lord has gold guitar waiting for such a fine gentleman as yourself. Our deepest condolences to the family of Jery Reed, God Bless you. Lisa Fitch

  6. Rick Diaz
    September 9, 2008 at 12:17 am

    I met Jerry as a kid. I’ll never forget his spirit and God given talent. I’ve met many of my heros during my journey. James Burton, Glen Campbell and Carl Jackson. They all sing your praises. I bet your in the studio with Chet and Elvis. You sang Today Is Mine, well yesterday was brighter because of you. Heaven is a happier place with you there. Keep the angels laughing and say hi to my mom Chris. When I get there we’ll play my Christmas song ” The Elvis Elf” God bless you and bring peace to your family and friends. See you down the road Snowman.

    Rick Diaz “A fellow picker”


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