Obituaries: Jerry Reed and Charlie Walker

Jerry Reed, a Grammy Award-winning singer who became a good ol’ boy actor in car chase movies like “Smokey and the Bandit,’’ died Sept. 1, 2008, of complications from emphysema. He was 71.

As a singer in the 1970s and early 1980s, Reed had a string of hits including “Amos Moses,’’ “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,’’ “East Bound and Down,’’ “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)’’ and “The Bird.’’

In the mid-’70s, he began acting in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit’’ with Burt Reynolds, usually as a good ol’ boy. But he was a heavy in “Gator,’’ directed by Reynolds, and a hateful coach in 1998’s “The Waterboy,’’ starring Adam Sandler.
Elvis Presley recorded two of Reed’s songs, “U.S. Male’’ and “Guitar Man,’’ in 1968. Reed also wrote “A Thing Called Love,’’ which was recorded in 1972 by Johnny Cash. He also wrote songs for Brenda Lee, Tom Jones, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and the Oak Ridge Boys.

Reed was voted instrumentalist of the year in 1970 by the Country Music Association. He won a Grammy Award for “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot’’ in 1971. A year earlier, he shared a Grammy with Chet Atkins for their collaboration, “Me and Jerry.’’ In 1992, Atkins and Reed won a Grammy for “Sneakin’ Around.’’

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Grand Ole Opry star Charlie Walker, who became a popular disc jockey in Texas as he built a career as a honky-tonk singer, died Sept. 12, 2008, in Hendersonville, Tenn. He was 81 and had been diagnosed recently with colon cancer.

Walker played country music during World War II over the Armed Forces Radio Network as part of the occupation forces in Tokyo. He became a top country music disc jockey on San Antonio’s KMAC in the 1950s while he recorded regional hits, including “Only You, Only You’’ on the Decca label. His breakthrough was on Columbia Records in 1958 with the Harlan Howard-penned “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down.’’ His other hits included “Who Will Buy the Wine,’’ “Wild as a Wildcat’’ and “Don’t Squeeze My Sharmon.’’

Walker joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1967 and was a longtime member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame.

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