Reggie Young's distinctive guitar licks propelled many songs into hits.
Young, who felt at home in Memphis and Nashville, died last week at age 82, according to a New York Times obituary.
From Chip Momans' American Sound Studio in Memphis to Nashville's Music Row, Young created combinations of notes that accented songwriters' melodies and gave deeper meaning to lyrics.
Young's simple but effective runs were the glue on hits ranging from The Box Tops' "The Letter" to Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man."
After Momans' studio closed, Young moved to Nashville, where he played on country-flavored hits like Waylon Jennings "Luckenback Texas" and Willie Nelson's "You Were Always on My Mind." He also gave the signature intro to Billy Swan's "I Can Help," a slice of music that combines rock, jazz and the blues in an other-worldly spin.
He also played with several bands, including the Bill Black Combo, formed by Elvis' former bass player. The band toured with the Beatles on their 1964 American tour. Young said he gave Harrison tips on playing the blues, according to the Times. Perhaps the mentoring was reciprocal: Young played sitar on several recordings.
A master of a variety of styles, from Southern "chicken picking" to bluesy runs, Young was "a cross between B.B. King and Chet Atkins," he said in an interview. The many streams of Southern music flowed through his guitar.