Guitarist-Producer Chip Young Dead at 76

Recorded Extensively With Elvis Presley

Fabled guitarist and record producer Chip Young died Saturday (Dec. 20) in Nashville at the age of 76.

Born Jerry Marvin Stembridge in Atlanta on May 19, 1938, Young began his career in the 1950s, playing with fellow guitar hotshot Jerry Reed and singer-songwriter Joe South.

His talents flowered in the 1960s and ‘70s, during which time he played on such classics as Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Elvis Presley’s “Guitar Man” and Charley Pride’s “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.” He also served as a regular member of Presley’s studio band from 1965 until Presley’s death in 1977.

Young recorded with a wide range of other legendary artists, among them George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Eddy Arnold, Carl Perkins, the Oak Ridge Boys, Skeeter Davis, Ann-Margret, My Morning Jacket, Todd Snider and Candi Staton.

As a producer, Young masterminded sessions for Reed, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Mathis, Gary Stewart, Billy Swan and Delbert McClinton. In the late ‘60s, he established his own recording studio, Young ‘Un Sound.

The affable picker released his own album, Having Thumb Fun With My Friends, in 2000. It feature instrumental romps with such other guitar aces as Reed, Chet Atkins, Jimmy Capps, Jerry Kennedy, Grady Martin, Scotty Moore, Leon Rhodes, Pete Wade, Wayne Moss and Reggie Young.

He was inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2009.

In 2010, the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum spotlighted Young in its series Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday (Dec. 23) at Nashville’s Trevecca Community Church of the Nazarene at 10 a.m. with internment to follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will take place at the church on Monday from 5-8 p.m.

Young is survived by his wife, Diane Parker-Stembridge, and a daughter, Megan Lee Bare.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.