Legendary Sideman, Guitarist Reggie Young, Dead at 82
When a good side player's doing their job right, you might not know their name or face, but you definitely know their guitar licks. Such is the case for Reggie Young, the ace session man whose guitarwork helped lend immortality to iconic tracks like "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield, "Suspicious Minds" and "In the Ghetto" by Elvis Presley and a massive cache of others.
At the age of 82, Young died at his home near Nashville on Thursday evening (Jan. 18), as reported by Commercial Appeal. Following his death, the legendary guitarist was mourned by family, friends and others throughout the music industry. On Twitter, artist B.J Thomas remembered Young as "the greatest guitar player of them all in my book" as well as a "friend for over 40 years," explaining that he had played on "virtually all of my music."
Travis Tritt expressed similar sentiments, saying that "Reggie played on most of my '90s albums and was the most recorded studio guitarist in history ... Reggie was also a great human being."
Young was born in 1936 in Caruthersville, Mo. and was raised in Arkansas before moving to Memphis, Tenn., as a teenager in 1950. He began playing professionally at the age of 15, and served as a house guitarist at Royal Studios/Hi Records at a young age. He eventually made his way to Nashville after serving in the Army -- and turning down an offer to work at the CIA -- and worked with a virtual who's-who of Music City's most accomplished performers. Young contributed to albums by the likes of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr. and Reba McEntire.
Young released his first solo album, Forever Young, in 2017. Additionally, U.K. label Ace Records, which released his solo project, is also planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his sessions with Presley with a compilation album titled Reggie Young: Session Guitar Star later in January of 2019.
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