Jerry Reed

Active - 1975 - 1998  |   Born - Mar 20, 1937   |   Died - Sep 1, 2008   |   Genres - Comedy, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of an amateur musician, Jerry Reed spent his formative years laboring in the cotton fields of Georgia, teaching himself the guitar in his spare time. At 18, Reed was hired by Capitol Records as a staff songwriter. One of his first compositions, "Crazy Legs," proved to be a hit for C&W star Gene Vincent; likewise, Elvis Presley scored successes with Reed's "Guitar Man" and "U.S. Males." After army service, Reed established himself as one of the most highly sought-after studio guitarists in the business. He made his mark as a singer in his own right with his best-selling 1967 rendition of "Guitar Man." Reed went on to win a Grammy award for his 1970 chart-topper "Amos Moses"; his later number-one hits included 1971's "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and 1982's "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)." He augmented his recording fame as a regular on the TV series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, then as star of his own summer-replacement variety weekly, 1972's The Jerry Reed When You're Hot You're Hot Hour. By 1977, Reed had pretty much put his recording activities on the back burner in favor of his blossoming film career. He made his movie bow in Burt Reynolds' W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), then went on to co-star as Cletus in Reynolds' two Smokey and the Bandit outings, composing the musical score for both films. Reed was elevated to second billing in the Reynolds-less Smokey and the Bandit III (1983), but only after the film had been unsuccessfully previewed with Jackie Gleason playing both Smokey and the Bandit. Jerry Reed made his film directorial debut with 1981's What Comes Around.

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