Passings: Jerry Reed

“Eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin’, we gonna do what they say can’t be done. . .”

Jerry Reed started out as a songwriter and session man, recording a few rockabilly sides of his own before gaining attention through the recording of his “Crazy Legs” by Gene Vincent, as well as “Guitar Man” and “US Male” by Elvis Presley. He had some later hits of his own, including “Eastbound and Down,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).”

Probably best known as Burt Reynolds’ sidekick in Smokey and the Bandit and its sequels, Reed joined Mac Davis and Glen Campbell as country crossover stars who were given the chance to host their own variety shows in the modern-country-lovin’ ’70s and ’80s. I always loved the line in Bandit when Reed used the CB to tell Reynolds that he was stopping to “throw some groceries down my neck.” After he is set upon and beaten by bikers, he gets revenge by running over their motorcycles domino-style. The little chuckle he gives as he drives away defined his onstage persona, perfect for its time and, I think, still pretty cool.

RIP, Mr. Reed.

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