Singer-songwriter Steve Young, whose songs were recorded by the Eagles, Waylon Jennings and Travis Tritt, among others, and who is regarded as a forerunner of the 1970s Outlaw movement in country music, died Thursday night (March 17) in Nashville. He was 73.
His most famous song was “Seven Bridges Roads,” the live recording of which became a No. 21 pop hit for the Eagles in 1981. The country group Ricochet released a single version of the song in 1999 that peaked at No. 48.
In 1973, Jennings used Young’s “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” as the title cut of his album. Travis Tritt covered it as a single in 2003, taking it to No. 50.
Young was born in Newnan, Georgia, on July 12, 1942. He lived there and at various locations in Alabama and Texas during his youth.
In the early 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles to take part in the folk music scene. Over the next few years he gigged as a soloist and played in such acts as Richard & Jim, the Skip Battin Band¸ the Gas Company (which included Van Dyke Parks and Stephen Stills) and Stone Country.
His eclectic tastes in music led him to embrace elements of both country and rock, a mixture evident in his 1969 solo album on A&M Records, Rock, Salt & Nails. Gram Parsons, Gene Clark and Richard Greene were among the guest musicians on this project.
While roundly respected as an artist — Jennings told one interviewer that Young “has no earthly idea how great he is” — Young charted only one song in his long career, and that was Willie Nelson’s “It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way” It barely scratched the country singles chart in 1977.
Even so, Young continued to turn out critically laurelled albums, including No Place to Fall (1978) To Satisfy You (1981), Look Homeward Angel (1986), Switchblades of Love (1993) and Stories Round the Horseshoe Bend (2007).
His son, singer-songwriter Jubal Lee Young, was recently spotlighted on The Voice.