Grammy Award-winning country singer-songwriter Jerry Reed died of complications from emphysema on September 1. He was 71. He continued touring into the late 1990s, performing about 80 shows a year.
Reed had a string of hits in the 1970s and early 1980s that included “Amos Moses,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “East Bound and Down,” “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)” and “The Bird.”
During the mid-1970s, Reed began acting in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit,” starring Burt Reynolds; “Gator,” directed by Reynolds; and 1998’s “The Waterboy,” starring Adam Sandler.
In 1970, Reed was voted instrumentalist of the year by the Country Music Association and shared a Grammy with Chet Atkins that same year for their collaboration, “Me and Jerry. The following year he received a Grammy for Best Male Vocal Performance for “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” in 1971. In 1992, Atkins and Reed won a Grammy for “Sneakin’ Around.”
Reed was born on March 20, 1937, in Atlanta, GA and began playing guitar at age 8. He dropped out of high school to tour with Ernest Tubb and Faron Young, and at 17, signed his first recording contract, with Capitol Records.
In the mid-‘60s he moved to Nashville and caught the attention of Chet Atkins. First making a name for himself as a songwriter, Elvis Presley recorded two of his songs, “U.S. Male” and “Guitar Man,” both in 1968. He also wrote the hit “A Thing Called Love,” recorded in 1972 by Johnny Cash. Reed also penned songs for Nat King Cole, Tom Jones, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, and the Oak Ridge Boys.