Guitarist Reggie Young, a Memphis- and Nashville-based session player whose signature licks defined hit records by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and many other artists, has died. He was 82.
Friend and fellow Nashville Cats session musician David Briggs said Young died Thursday at his home in Nashville, Tenn.
Young started his illustrious career in Memphis, Tenn., where he was an in-demand session player working with acclaimed producer Chips Moman and opened for the Beatles with the Bill Black Combo in 1964.
At Moman’s American Studio in Memphis, he played the signature sitar intro on “Hooked on a Feeling,” by B.J. Thomas, and played guitar on “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield, “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond and “Suspicious Minds” by Presley.
Very sad to hear that legendary guitar player Reggie Young has died. Reggie played on most of my 90’s albums and was the most recorded studio guitarist in history. Famous for the guitar lick on Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, Reggie was also a great human being. #RIPReggieYoung 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/o4l86kmqIX— Travis Tritt (@Travistritt) January 18, 2019
Reggie Young, played on virtually all of my music. My brother and friend. RIP pal. BJ— BJ Thomas (@TheBJThomas) January 18, 2019
After moving to Nashville in the 1970s, he became part of the Nashville Cats session players recording hundreds of songs for top country stars. Young added guitar to No. 1 records including “Luckenbach, Texas” by Jennings, “Pancho and Lefty” by Nelson and Merle Haggard and “Always on My Mind” by Nelson.
When the Highwaymen supergroup formed between Nelson, Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, Young played on their No. 1 records and even toured with them.
His first-ever album, containing a collection of hits he played on from Memphis to Nashville, was due out later this month through London-based record label Ace.