Reggie Young

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Reggie Young
Guitarist Reggie Young, in concert at the Back in Memphis benefit for Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith, August 12, 2010, Elvis Week, University of Memphis
Guitarist Reggie Young, in concert at the Back in Memphis benefit for Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith, August 12, 2010, Elvis Week, University of Memphis
Background information
Born(1936-12-12)December 12, 1936
Caruthersville, Missouri, U.S.
DiedJanuary 17, 2019(2019-01-17) (aged 82)
Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, U.S.
Years active1954–2019

Reggie Grimes Young Jr. (December 12, 1936 – January 17, 2019)[1] was an American musician who was lead guitarist in the American Sound Studio house band, The Memphis Boys,[2] and was a leading session musician.[3] He played on various recordings with artists such as Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker, Dobie Gray, Joe Tex, Merrilee Rush, B.J. Thomas, John Prine, Dusty Springfield, Lynn Anderson, Herbie Mann, J.J. Cale, Jimmy Buffett, Dionne Warwick, Roy Hamilton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, the Box Tops, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, Joey Tempest, George Strait, and The Highwaymen. Young was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2019.

Early career[edit]

Born December 12, 1936, in Caruthersville, Missouri,[2] and raised in Osceola, Arkansas,[4] Young's first band was Eddie Bond & the Stompers, a rockabilly band from Memphis, Tennessee, that toured with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison during the mid-'50s.[2] By 1958, Young was with singer Johnny Horton, making several appearances on the popular Louisiana Hayride radio show in Shreveport.

He was an original member of Bill Black's Combo,[5] which had several instrumental hits in the U.S. in 1959 and the early '60s, the most successful being "Smokie, Pts. 1 & 2", "White Silver Sands," and an instrumental version of "Don't Be Cruel," released on Hi Records. Billboard Magazine listed the Combo as the No. 1 instrumental band three years in a row, 1960–1962.

In February 1964, the Beatles requested that the Bill Black Combo open for them during their first U.S. tour.[6] Subsequently, they invited the Combo over to England for another month-long tour.[7] After the death of leader Bill Black (Elvis Presley's original bass player) in October 1965, Young concentrated on being a staff musician at Hi Studio in Memphis until 1967, winding up at American Sound Studio at the request of Chips Moman later that year.[8]

The Memphis Boys were responsible for around 120 hit singles, pop, country, rock, or soul, between 1967 and 1971.[9] Young played on the January/February 1969 Elvis Presley sessions that included "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain", "Don't Cry Daddy", and "In the Ghetto".[9] When the studio closed in late 1971, Young moved to Nashville as an independent session player. He took part in the July 1973 Presley sessions at Stax Records in Memphis which produced the albums Raised On Rock and Good Times.

In the early 1970s, Young backed Jimmy Buffett as a member of the first three Coral Reefer Bands on "A White Sport Coat & a Pink Crustacean", Living and Dying in 3/4 Time and A1A. On Jimmy's legendary cover of the Lord Buckley classic "God's Own Drunk", Buffett references a "Reggie Youngin commode huggin' drunk".

After playing on the sessions for the Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson) in 1984, Young joined their touring show for a five-year stretch (1990–1995).[3] Young also played many sessions and concerts with Waylon Jennings, including his final tours featuring the Waymore Blues Band before Jennings' death in 2002.

Young was nominated for a Grammy, and also performed at the Kennedy Center in honor of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. 2008 saw the Country Music Hall of Fame recognizing Young as a "Nashville Cat". That same year also saw the debut of Young's first solo album, the independently released, inspirational Be Still, a collaboration with wife and cellist Jenny Lynn Young.

August 2009 saw the Memphis Boys, along with Chips Moman, receive acknowledgement by the Memphis Grammy Chapter for their pioneering work on "Suspicious Minds" during a Graceland fan reception. After almost 45 years of playing together, this was their first award.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Young met his wife, the classically trained cellist Jenny Lynn Hollowell, in 1999, during the formation of Waylon Jennings' Waymore Blues Band. They married in 2004. They resided in Leipers Fork in middle Tennessee, where Young spent much of his time composing in his home studio.

Young died during the evening of January 17, 2019 at his home in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee from heart failure.[10][11]

Selected sessions[edit]




  1. ^ Betts, Stephen. "Reggie Young, Guitar Player for Elvis, Waylon, Dead at 82". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Forever Young: Reggie Young - Premier Guitar". Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  3. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Reggie Young > Biography)))". Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  4. ^ a b "THE REGGIE YOUNG STORY". Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  5. ^ Roben Jones (2010). Memphis Boys: the story of American Studios, 2010. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 6. ISBN 1-60473-401-9. Retrieved 2010-09-23. Memphis boys Reggie became the featured player in the Bill Black Combo.
  6. ^ Roben Jones (2010). Memphis Boys: the story of American Studios, 2010. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 9. ISBN 1-60473-401-9. Retrieved 2010-09-23. Beatles Bill Black Combo.
  7. ^ Roben Jones (2010). Memphis Boys: the story of American Studios, 2010. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 10. ISBN 1-60473-401-9. Retrieved 2010-09-23. Beatles Bill Black Combo.
  8. ^ Jones, Roben (2010). Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studios. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-60473-401-0. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  9. ^ a b Robert Earl Hardy (2008). A deeper blue: the life and music of Townes Van Zandt, 2008. University of North Texas Press. p. 164. ISBN 1-57441-247-7. Retrieved 2010-09-23. Reggie Young Suspicious Minds.
  10. ^ Bill Friskics-Warren. "Reggie Young, Guitarist Heard on Hundreds of Hits, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  11. ^ "Legendary guitarist Reggie Young — key sideman to Elvis, Waylon, Willie and more — dead at age 82". Commercial Appeal. January 18, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1992). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. New York: Billboard Books. p. 62.
  13. ^ Whitburn 2006, p. 56.
  14. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 62.
  15. ^ "Music". Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Book of TOP 40 R&B and Hip Hop Hits. New York: Billboard Books. p. 88.
  17. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 138.
  18. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 204.
  19. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 329.
  20. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2005). Joel Whitburn's Top Country Songs: 1944-2005. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Billboard, Record Research Inc. p. 267.
  21. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 340.
  22. ^ Whitburn 2005, p. 276.
  23. ^ a b Whitburn 1992, p. 363.
  24. ^ a b c d Whitburn 1992, p. 368.
  25. ^ a b c Whitburn 2005, p. 297.
  26. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 397.
  27. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 400.
  28. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 429.
  29. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 449.
  30. ^ Whitburn 2005, p. 373.
  31. ^ a b Whitburn 1992, p. 457.
  32. ^ Whitburn 1992, p. 459.
  33. ^ Whitburn 2005, p. 377.

External links[edit]