Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Jerry Hubbard, 20 March 1937, Atlanta GA; d 1 September 2008, Nashville TN) Nashville session guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor. Played in country bands from teens, worked in cotton mills, played at night in Atlanta honky tonks. Discovered by producer Bill Lowery, he recorded for Capitol '55, wrote 'Crazy Legs' (recorded by Gene Vincent), others recorded by Brenda Lee ('That's All You Gotta Do' '60), eventually had 18 BMI awards for songs. After US Army service 1959-61 he moved to Nashville, recorded for Columbia, became a session player, signed with RCA '65: his first country hit was 'Guitar Man' '67 (it became his nickname) covered by Elvis Presley '68 (top 20 UK), who had a top 30 USA hit same year with Reed's 'U.S. Male'.
Reed was a regular on Glen Campbell's TV show '70-1, also on Hee-Haw and others, revealing a gift for comedy; made films with Burt Reynolds W.W. And The Dixie Dance Kings '74, Gator '76, Smokey And The Bandit '77, Bandit II '80; starred with Claude Atkins in TV series Nashville 99; moved into film and video production, directed What Comes Around '84, made in Nashville. Meanwhile LPs crossed to pop chart: Cookin' '70 made pop top 200, Georgia Sunshine '71 almost made top 100 (title track and 'Amos Moses' both top 20 country hits, the latter top ten pop), then When You're Hot, You're Hot was a no. 45 LP, title track no. 1 country, top ten pop. Lesser chart LPs '71-3 were KoKo Joe, Smell The Flowers, Best Of Jerry Reed, Lord, Mr Ford (title track another country no. 1). Duet LP Me And Jerry '71 with Chet Atkins won a Grammy, followed by Me And Chet '72. Other RCA LPs: Alabama Wild Man '68, Better Things In Life '69, Hot A' Mighty '73, The Uptown Poker Club '74, Mind Your Love '75, Red Hot Picker '76, Sings Jim Croce '80, Dixie Dreams '81, many more including The Bird, East Bound, Texas Bound And Flyin'; plus Lookin' At You on Capitol '86. His hits and his film career have obscured his excellent playing; early tracks such as 'Georgia On My Mind' show a jazz influence often found in the best country pickers. He was reunited with Atkins on Sneakin' Around '92; live album Flyin' High '96 on Southern Tracks was regarded as disappointing.