Black Music Matters Festival

Guitarist Reggie Young passes away

Monday, January 21, 2019 – Guitarist Reggie Young, lead guitarist in the American Sound Studio house band, The Memphis Boys and a leading session musician, died Thursday at 82 in Tennessee.

Young played on recordings of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Willie Nelson and The Highwaymen.

Young was born Dec. 12, 1936, in Caruthersville, Mo. and raised in Osceola, Ark. His first band was Eddie Bond & the Stompers, a rockabilly band from Memphis that toured with Cash, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison during the mid-'50s. He later played with Johnny Horton.

Young was an original member of Bill Black's Combo, which had several instrumental hits in the U.S. in 1959 and the early '60s. After Black (he was Presley original bassist) died in 1965, Young focused on being a musician at Hi Studio in Memphis and later at American Studios.

The Memphis Boys played on more than 120 hit singles in pop, country, rock and soul, between 1967 and 1971.[Young played on the January/February 1969 Elvis Presley sessions that included "Suspicious Minds," "Kentucky Rain," "Don't Cry Daddy" and "In the Ghetto." He played guitar on "Hooked on a Feeling," by B.J. Thomas, "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield and "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond.

Young moved to Nashville as a session player. After playing on the sessions for the Highwaymen (Cash, Jennings, Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson) in 1984, Young joined their touring show from 1990-1995. He also played sessions and concerts with Waylon Jennings, including his final tours featuring the Waymore Blues Band before Jennings' passing in 2002.

In 2008, he released his first solo disc, "Be Still," with wife and cellist Jenny Lynn Young.