Legendary studio and live guitarist Reggie Young, who played on classic songs by Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Jr. and more, died Thursday (Jan. 18) in Nashville. He was 82.
Young was born in Caruthersville, Mo. in 1936. He was raised in Osceola, Ark. and moved to Memphis at the age of 14. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that Young began playing guitar professionally at the age of 15.
After serving in the Army (and turning down an offer to join the CIA), Young returned to Memphis in the mid-1960s. There he worked at American Studios as part of the legendary house band The Memphis Boys. The Memphis Boys played a pivotal role in late '60s music, performing on Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and more. The band played on over 100 hit pop, country, rock and soul singles.
Throughout his career Young played with a variety of country artists, including Carl Perkins, Johnny Horton, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Guy Clark. Among the country songs Young lent his talent to are Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind," Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Family Tradition" and Jennings' "Luckenbach, Texas." He also toured with The Highwaymen for several years.
Young released his solo album Forever Young in 2017.