Jerry Reed


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photograph of Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed Hubbard (1937-2008), known professionally as Jerry Reed, was an American country music singer, country guitarist, session musician, songwriter, and actor who appeared in over a dozen films

Reed was born on the 20th March 1937 in Atlanta, Georgia, the second child of Robert and Cynthia Hubbard. Reed's parents separated four months after his birth, and he and his sister spent seven years in foster homes or orphanages. Reed was reunited with his mother and stepfather in 1944.

By high school (O'Keefe High School, Atlanta, Georgia) Reed was already writing and singing music, having picked up the guitar as a child. At the age of eighteen he was signed by publisher and record producer Bill Lowery to make his first record, "If the Good Lord's Willing and the Creeks Don't Rise". At Capitol Records, he recorded both country and rockabilly singles with little success, until label mate Gene Vincent covered his "Crazy Legs" in 1958. By 1958, Lowery signed Reed to his National Recording Corporation, and he recorded for NRC as both artist and as a member of the staff band, which included other NRC artists Joe South and Ray Stevens.

Reed married Priscilla Mitchell in 1959. They have two daughters, Charlotte Elaine Reed Stewart, and Seidina Ann Reed Hinesley.

After a two-year stint in the military, Reed moved to Nashville in 1961 to continue his songwriting career, which had continued to gather steam while he was in the armed forces, thanks to Brenda Lee's 1960 cover of his "That's All You Got to Do". He also became a popular session and tour guitarist. In 1962, he scored some success with the singles "Goodnight Irene" and "Hully Gully Guitar", which found their way to Chet Atkins, who produced Reed's 1965 "If I Don't Live Up to It".

In 1967 Reed had his first chart hit with "Guitar Man", which Elvis Presley soon covered. Presley had gone to Nashville to record in 1967, and one of the songs he was working on was "Guitar Man," which Reed had written and recorded. Jarvis hired Reed to play on the session. Reed also played the guitar for Presley's "Too Much Monkey Business" (1968), recorded at the same session. After Presley recorded another of Reed's songs, "U.S. Male", the songwriter recorded an Elvis tribute, "Tupelo Mississippi Flash", which became his first top-twenty hit.

After releasing the 1970 crossover hit "Amos Moses", a hybrid of rock, country, and Cajun styles, which reached number eight on the U.S. pop charts, Reed teamed up with Atkins for the duet LP Me & Jerry. During the 1970 television season, he was a regular on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and in 1971 he issued his biggest hit, "When You're Hot, You're Hot", which was also the title track of his first solo album and reached number nine on the pop charts.

A second collaboration with Atkins, Me & Chet, followed in 1972, as did a series of top-forty singles, which alternated between frenetic, straightforward country offerings and more pop-flavoured material. A year later, he scored his second number-one single with "Lord, Mr. Ford" (written by Dick Feller), from the album of the same name.

Reed was featured in animated form in a December 9, 1972 episode of Hanna-Barbera's The New Scooby-Doo Movies, "The Phantom of the Country Music Hall". He sang and played the song "Pretty Mary Sunlite", which is played throughout the episode as Scooby and the gang search for Reed's missing guitar.

In the mid-1970s, Reed's recording career began to take a back seat to his acting aspirations. In 1974, he co-starred with his close friend Burt Reynolds in the film W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings. While he continued to record throughout the decade, his greatest visibility was as a film star, almost always in tandem with headliner Reynolds; after 1976's Gator, Reed appeared in 1978's High Ballin and 1979's Hot Stuff, which won the Best Picture award from the Pawn Shop Association of America. He also co-starred in all three of the Smokey and the Bandit films; the first, which premiered in 1977, landed Reed a number-two hit with the soundtrack's "East Bound and Down".

Reed also hosted a television variety show, filming two episodes of The Jerry Reed Show in 1976. The show featured music performances and interview segments, but did not contain the comedy skits that usually were a part of variety shows of the 1970s. Guests included Tammy Wynette, Ray Stevens, and Burt Reynolds.

Reed died on the 31st August 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee, of complications from emphysema. Read more about Jerry Reed on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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