Reggie Young, Studio Guitarist for Elvis, Waylon Jennings and Many Others, Dies at 82

Session guitarist Reggie Young, 82, who played with the likes of Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings, died Thursday in Tennessee.

Memphis Boys lead guitarist, Young played on Presley's Suspicious Minds, Jennings' Luckenbach, Texas and toured with the Highwaymen, according to Rolling Stone.

Young played on hundreds of rock, pop and country records for everyone, including Bob Dylan, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Guy Clark, Elvis and Waylon Jennings.

The prolific guitarist played on other very recognizable late Sixties and early Seventies hits, including Presley's In the Ghetto while Young was with the Memphis Boys, the American Studios house band.

Other songs he played guitar on: The Box Tops' The Letter, Dusty Springfield's Son of a Preacher Man, Dobie Gray's Drift Away, among so many others during his career. For Rogers, he played on The Gambler, for Jennings he played on Honky Tonk Heroes and for Clark, on Old No. 1.

The Associated Press reported Young played the signature sitar intro on B.J. Thomas' Hooked on a Feeling.

Young's career took off in Memphis with acclaimed producer Chips Moman – and when he and the Bill Black Combo opened for the Beatles during their historic 1964 tour.

In the 1970s, Young moved to Nashville, where he joined the Nashville Cats session players; that's when he recorded hundreds of songs for top country stars, including No. 1 records for Jennings on Luckenbach, Texas, Willy Nelson and Haggard's Pancho and Lefty and Nelson's Always On My Mind.

Young toured with superstars Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Nelson and Jennings – who comprised the Highwaymen, who pumped out several No. 1 records with him on guitar. In a video clip of the Highwaymen performing "Folsom Prison Blues," Young plays the song's signature solo.

AP reported that Young's first-ever album, Reggie Young: Session Guitar Star, is due out January 25 via the London-based record label, Ace. It contains a collection of hits, a 24-track compilation spanning his career, that he played on from Memphis to Nashville.

Young was born in Caruthersville, Missouri, in December, 1936, according to Rolling Stone. He moved to Memphis at age 13 and inherited musical talent from his musician father, who played Hawaiian lap-steel guitar.

A WSM radio show, "Two Guitars," featuring Chet Atkins, influenced Young. His first band was Eddie Bond and the Stompers, a 1955 rockabilly group that scored the 1956 hit, Rockin' Daddy.

Eddie Bond and the Stompers signed with Mercury Records and toured with superstars Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Johnny Horton. For Horton, Young played on Louisiana Hayride.

Reportedly, for months at a time between 1967 and 1972, Young played up to 20 sessions a week.

After moving to Nashville, he backed up a new wave of artists, including Tanya Tucker, Eddie Rabbitt, Rodney Crowell, John Prine and Dolly Parton.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's "Nashville Cats" series honored Young in 2008. In 2017, he released his first-ever solo album, Forever Young.

David Briggs, friend and fellow Nashville Cats session musician, confirmed for the AP that Young died on Thursday at home.

Reggie Young, Studio Guitarist for Elvis, Waylon Jennings and Many Others, Dies at 82 | U.S.