Country Singer Jerry Reed Passes Away at 71

September 3, 2008 10:52 AM ET

Grammy-winning country singer and Burt Reynolds' Smokey and the Bandit cohort Jerry Reed died of complications from emphysema on Monday. He was 71. As a songwriter, Reed penned songs for Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and scores more. In 1971, Reed won a Grammy for his own "When You're Hot, You're Hot." Reed won three Grammys over his career, including two for collaborations with Chet Atkins. Reed's segue into films helped inspire his Nashville peers like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers to try their hand at acting. In addition to his turn in the Smokey series, Reed was also immortalized as the rival coach in Adam Sandler's The Waterboy and the "Phantom of the Country Music Hall" episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

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Song Stories


Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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