Jerry Reed, RIP


The singer, songwriter, actor, guitarist, and backwoods hipster Jerry Reed has died at age 71. Here's what I wrote about him back in 2005:

Let me say this firmly, with no room for quibbles or dissent: Jerry Reed is the coolest motherfucker who ever walked the planet. You think he's just a goofball who recorded some novelty records and drove a truck in Smokey and the Bandit? Then listen to the way he performs each song: He's always an actor as well as a singer, not to mention a dynamo guitarist. Listen to the way he jumps easily from country to blues to swampy funk-rock, from funny tall tales to love songs to political numbers so witty you almost forget he's making a point. Listen to that LAUGH, son. Jerry Reed kicks ass.

Jerry in action:

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  1. Damn shame. Jerry Reed was a legend.

    Jerry’s Amos Moses is great but I think I like the version by Alex Harvey (also criminally underrated) better. Can’t seem to find it on YouTube though. It’s on his album SAHB Stories

  2. Reed was a class act. RIP.

  3. And then Jerry traveled to the Great White North to star opposite Peter Fonda in a quickie trucker flick to cash in on Bandit Fever:

  4. 10-4. Over & Out, Good Buddy.
    See ya in that Great Big Rig in the Sky.
    At least Smokie’ll never catch ya now.

  5. And let’s not forget the time Jerry foiled the bank robbers on Scooby-Doo:

  6. RIP to one of the greatest guitar players in American history. I know he’s up there pickin’ with Chet right now.

  7. Haven’t felt this way since Johnny Cash died.

    Jerry Reed was truly unsung. Your article puts it very well. There is a LOT more to Jerry Reed than what some dismiss on the surface.

    Just watched a cheap rare B-movie starring Jerry called “What Comes Around” or some such thing. There is a duet in that movie with Jerry and of all people, big-band singer Phil Harris. It’s a real treat, I hope someone can put that on Utube.

    I’m a woman in my late 40s and was buying Jerry Reed singles in middle school before they were cool. I have a few of his 45s…..

    I’m going to buy up his entire discography for sure… RIP and thanks for all the memories…


  9. Nothing about Jerry Reed, but does anyone know whatever happened to Eddie Dean, who wrote a bunch of great articles about the Appalachian scene for the Washington City Paper, back in the ’90s? I’ve come up with nothing about him since he went to work for bitch doctor editor Tina Brown for her ill-fated magazine about 10 years ago.

    Any info appreciated.

  10. Want to hear some incredible Jerry Reed pickin’? Check out The Claw, available on iTunes music store and elsewhere.

  11. I have always liked Jerry, his songs and acting with Burt reynolds. I’ll always remember him and miss him. We were very sad when we heard he passed on. This article is very good, because not only can you read about him, we can hear him singing.

    Thanks so much.

  12. Son! Alabama Wildman….awwwww could it be? Jerry, you were an original and one of the greatest guitarists ever with that unique “claw” picking method that I have yet to figure out. Funny tale teller and comedic actor too. Why you didn’t achieve more fame than you did is beyond me. RIP Jerry

  13. Dave the Spazz always plays a healthy dose of Jerry Reed on WFMU, including sound clips of him ranting about what a straight-up guy Elvis was. I expect some sort of a tribute tomorrow night on Dave’s show.

  14. Jerry Reed R.I.P. I was lucky to have grown up in a time when this legend was alive and pick’n.May God Bless Your Soul.

  15. I drive a truck and sometimes pleasure myself to his music. This don’t make me queer. I just have a great appreciation for the man.

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