By Damian Fanelli | Photo: Anthony Scarlati
The name Reggie Young might not be one that you recognize right away, but you know him. You’ve heard him countless times.
The guitar on Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and "In the Ghetto"? That's Reggie Young. Dusty Springfield's “Son of a Preacher Man"? Also Reggie. The same goes for Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" and Dobie Gray's "Drift Away." He’s also the guy playing that electric sitar on the Box Tops' "Cry Like a Baby."
Young has played guitar on so many hits for so many artists for so many years that he has to keep track of them all in a massive notebook.
But one artist Reggie Young has never played for is Reggie Young; he's never released a full album under his own name.
Until now. After six decades in the music business, Young, 79, will release a solo album, Forever Young, on May 26. The album, which was recorded primarily at La La Land Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, features seven tracks, all of which were composed by Young. The disc features a host of skilled musicians; some of them were mainstays of the Memphis, Nashville and Muscle Shoals music scenes in the Sixties and Seventies.
"I never was really interested in doing it [before now] because I’ve been so busy—really busy," Young says. "When I’d get some time off, I enjoyed the peace and quiet. I couldn’t see going right back to work. But now the studio world has changed quite a bit in the last few years, and I have more time to pursue it. I’m ready for it."
While we wait for one of the new tracks to hit YouTube, check out some of the classic songs that feature Young's guitar playing:
• B.J. Thomas, "Hooked on a Feeling"
• J.J. Cale, "Cocaine"
• Danny O'Keefe, "Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues"
• Billy Swan, "I Can Help"
• King Curtis, "Memphis Soul Stew"
Young’s résumé lists everyone from Ringo Starr to Bob Dylan to Gladys Knight, the Staple Singers to Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers to Joe Cocker to B.B. King. Aaron Neville, George Strait, the Crusaders, Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton also hired him at one time or another. This barely scratches the surface.
For more about Young, visit reggieyoung.org.