reggie young

The king of the intro hook helped author the 6-string sound of Memphis soul with his classic licks, and crystallized country guitar in the ’70s and ’80s, with his trusty ’57 Strat, ’69 Tele, and Gibson ES-335.

The world lost one of the greatest session guitarists who ever lived, on Thursday, January 17: Reggie Young. Although he didn’t record an album of his own until age 80, by that time Young had been helping other artists, from Elvis Presley to Bing Crosby to Willie Nelson to Martina McBride, make records for more than half a century. Young died at his home outside of Nashville. He had suffered through surgeries in recent years and never fully recovered, and is survived by his wife, Jenny, who he met while they were both in Waylon Jennings’ touring band in 1999. Young was 82.

Reggie Young, Jr. was born in 1936 in Osceola, Arkansas. When he was 13, his family moved to Memphis. His first guitar was a National flattop that he fitted with a DeArmond pickup and ran through a Rickenbacker amp. He was soon learning the licks of Chet Atkins and fellow Memphis resident B.B King.

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