Guitar Man Oldies Music Lyrics

"You could see Elvis' eyes light up...
He knew we had it."

...Jerry Reed, 1967

Elvis heard song on radio and was determined to record it. Read how it happened at Vinyl Record

The Guitar Man Oldies Music Lyrics was written by Jerry Reed and released in 1967. Reed's original version charted at #53 on the country charts in July of that same year. 

A short time later Elvis heard "Guitar Man" on an LA radio station and was determined to record it.

This page is dedicated to that song, however, it's always intriguing to learn how some songs come together to form such a satisfying and unique end result.  

The songwriter, the singer, background vocalists and session players all have important roles. Some are of the opinion this song would not have been recorded were it not for the guitar talents of Jerry Reed. 

The Guitar Man Story Begins.

The original Hollywood recording session was scheduled to take place in mid August 1967, but was cancelled by Colonel Parker over a legal issue not related to the session. Elvis ended up in Las Vegas.

The original session was to involve Billy Strange, songwriter, guitarist, actor and session musician with the famed Wrecking Crew. 

From Las Vegas Elvis continued home to Memphis, making it logical to reschedule the recording session in Nashville. The dates were set for Sept 10th and 11th, 1967.

From Memphis to the Nashville Session.

Elvis was on fire singing Guitar Man. Jerry Reed on guitar and Elvis...what a combo.

The difference with this session is that Fleton Jarvis would be in full control of this session and not Billy Strange. Felton was Elvis' record producer from 1966 to 1977.

The sessions kicked off with a rundown of Guitar Man. It soon became apparent there was no way they were going to get the sound Elvis heard and was looking for on the original Jerry Reed recording.

Elvis wanted Reed in on the session. No one was sure how to get hold of him until someone suggested calling Chet Atkins assistant, Mary Lynch. She said Jerry was fishing but was finally able to locate him on the phone and he agreed to come in.

Guitar Man Oldies Music Lyrics - The Guitar Man finally shows up.  

The Alabama wild man set the guitar tone for this great song.

When he arrived, he looked, said Felton, "like a sure-enough Alabama wild man." You know, he hadn't shaved in about a week, and he had them old clogs on - that was just the way he dressed. 

He come in and Elvis looked at him and said, "Lord, have mercy, what is that"?

Jerry Reed was a genuine individualist, even in Nashville terms. A whirlwind of energy with a ready supply of infectious charm, Reed was never bashful about his talent.

Reed said, "I had my own tuning, and they were trying to record Guitar Man, and they couldn't make it feel like my record." Someone in the room noted that Guitar players in here are playing with straight picks and Reed plays with his fingers.

Reed sat down, hooked up that electric gut string, tuned the B-string up a whole tone, and he toned the low E-string down a whole tone, so he could bar straight across. 

Reed immediately took over the session. You can hear it from the first notes of the first take - Reed is coaching the musicians, encouraging them, egging them on.

Felton  was excited and happy just to be presiding over this special musical experience taking place between Elvis and Jerry Reed. 

And as soon as they hit the intro Reed said, "You could see Elvis' eyes light up... He knew we had it."

And once Elvis got into the song, it was just a jamming session and then things really began to happen.  

Enjoy these Jerry Reed lyrics and great vocals by Elvis in this 1967 Jam session recording.    

You might also like these...

Ever thought of having your own website? I built Vinyl Record Memories "from scratch" with SoloBuildIt! Click below to find out more....

Enjoy this page? Share it with your friends!

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Return to Elvis' main page.

Go to Guitar classics page.

Return to Home page.

Vinyl Record Memories
(VIP Club)

Become a member - FREE to Join.

A Little Bit of Nostalgia in your inbox each month.

FREE  To  Join

Nora Jones
A Music Tribute to Elvis.

A Nora Jones perfect cover of this Elvis classic at Vinyl Record

Of the many Elvis Presley love songs, Norah Jones adds her personal touch and sings one of the best covers of this original by Elvis. Read more...

Elvis and Martina
Blue Christmas

When Elvis filmed his 1968 "Comback" TV Special, Martina McBride was not quite 2 years old.

Forty years later the country singer steps back in time and walks out of the audience to join Elvis in one of the most remarkable Elvis Presley videos I have watched. Read more...

"Blue Suede Shoes"
A Rockabilly Session.

Hottest rockabilly ever performed in one setting!  Watch as Carl Perkins sings rockabilly songs with George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and others. Read more...

My Baby Thinks He's A Train!

Locomotion's the way he moves
He drags me 'round just like an old caboose...
I'm tellin' you, girls, that man's insane...
My baby thinks he's a train...Read more with amazing guitar solo.

Party Doll
A Rockabilly Classic

Enjoy this vinyl record memories rockabilly classic from 1957.

This is the story of the sounds these historically important figures created during those early rockabilly days. Read the story...

The Buddy Holly Story.

The Buddy Holly Story from the Roller Rink classic to Apollo Theater

If you grew up in the Buddy Holly era, this 1978 biography profiles the lives of someone who helped change forever, the music in the 50s and beyond. The Roller Rink medley and The Crickets at the Apollo looks back at this special time in history and how it all began. Read more...

Top of Page
Top of Page