Jerry Reed: 1937-2008

I just learned that country singer-songwriter and actor Jerry Reed has died. He might not be a familiar name to a lot of younger NPR listeners, but Jerry Reed was one of my childhood heroes, mostly for his recurring role in the Smokey and the Bandit film trilogy. (Film trilogy. That makes it sound so highbrow...) Reed also did the theme song, "East Bound and Down."

Keep in mind that this was the 1970s and I was in elementary and middle school. I've scarcely thought of the movies since, but just a few days ago, I was driving out of town with a friend, we were running late, and I found myself singing, "We got a long way to go / and a short time to get there / We're gonna do what they say can't be done..." That song seems to pop into my head whenever I'm rushing somewhere.

But Jerry Reed was more than an actor in these cornball movies. Originally from Atlanta, Reed moved to Nashville in the early '60s to write songs and work as a session guitarist. His first country hit was "Guitar Man." He later recorded a version with Elvis Presley.

Reed had numerous other hits: "Amos Moses," "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and this one, "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)," a song that's really more of a country-rap:

Rest in peace, Jerry. And thanks for the memories.

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When I was in my tweens and teens (late 60's early 70's) I couldn't care less for country music. My father however LOVED the country, yet we both grew up in the city of Chicago.

My father would always have country on the radio or Hee-Haw and similar on the TV. Jerry Reed was my reprieve from the usual country playlist. I liked him because he was funny, a great entertainer, and obviously a great guitarist. I could tell that his buddy Chet Atkins showed a lot of respect to Jerry, and I respected that.

Anyway 30 years later I decided to take up the guitar, at age 44, and Jerry Reed songs are ones that I just naturally need to play. "The Claw", "Amos Moses", "Eastbound...", "Pickie, Pickie, Pickie", "Jerry's Breakdown". They are difficult to learn but when I learn them they feel natural to me, and I don't get that feeling from most songs.

I think its great that we have his music and there are a lot of people that will continue to play his songs live.

Lots of Love can be found at the Telecaster Forum

"Ha, Ha! Sit Down on him Amos! Make it count son!"

Sent by Steve_in_NC | 11:55 AM | 9-3-2008

A Jerry Reed/Waylon Jennings concert was my first concert experience ever. I was about seven at the time and my father took me and my sister to see them in Ft. Myers, Fl.

I still remember Jerry belting out "East Bound and Down" live.

Godspeed Jerry!

Sent by racerabbit | 2:33 PM | 9-3-2008