Jerry Reed, 71, died of complications from emphysema early Monday, September 1, 2008. His longtime booking agent, Carrie Moore-Reed gave the following statement: "He's one of the greatest entertainers in the world. That's the way I feel about him."
Jerry told the story of how he got his first guitar. His mother bought it for him for $7 dollars from a neighbor across the street and taught her son a few chords. Reed didn't have any guitar picks so he remembered using nickels. With no formal training, he developed his craft by watching other musicians in clubs and then practicing 16 hours a day.
Reed was a singer and actor who was best known for his role in Smokey and the Bandit. He was a gifted guitarist and songwriter. In the 70's and 80's he had several hits including Amos Moses, When You're Hot, You're Hot, East Bound and Down and The Bird.
Reed was voted instrumentalist of the year in 1970 by the Country Music Association and won multiple Grammy awards. He continued performing on the road into the late 1990's, doing 80 shows a year. In 1992 he told the AP:
"I'm proud of the songs, I'm proud of things that I did with Chet Atkins and I'm proud that I played guitar and was accepted by musicians and guitar players. I used to watch people like Richard Burton and Mel Gibson and think, 'I could never do that.' When people ask me what my motivation is, I have a simple answer: Money."
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