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This Day in Georgia History

March 20, 1937

Jerry Reed Born

To view an image of a young Jerry Reed, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Singer/musician/songwriter/actor/television host Jerry Reed was born in Atlanta. He learned to play the guitar at age eight. Later, he dropped out of high school and headed to Nashville. Reed’s first fame came as a songwriter, composing songs tdhat were peformed by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Brenda Lee, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tom Jones, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole. He was widely recognized for his skill playing the guitar, and in 1970 was voted Instrumentalist of the Year by the Country Music Association. Reed became widely known for his “good ol’ boy” persona as a singer and actor. Among his best known recordings was the hit, “When You’re Hot You’re Hot,” for which he won a Grammy Award in 1971. But Reed is probably best remembered for his supporting roles in the original and sequel of Burt Reynolds’ “Smoky and the Bandit” movies. Reed died at age 71 on Sept. 1, 2008, in Nashville, Tenn.