Jerry Reed - GUITAR MAN

First performance: 12/04/1995


Coverinfo

1995-04-12 - CARNEGIE HALL, NEW YORK CITY, NY
The sixth annual Rock for The Rainforest benefit for the Rainforest Foundation. With various artists. Bruce plays guitar during Sting's performance of "Guitar Man". 
 
 
2000-03-18 - PYRAMID ARENA, MEMPHIS, TN
"Working On The Highway" has a few lines of "Guitar Man" in the intro. "Land of Hope and Dreams" is dedicated to Martin Luther King and Elvis.
 
"Well, I quit my job down at the car wash, Left my mama a goodbye note" ( at 1:08 ) 
 
 
 
 

Songinfo

"Guitar Man" is a 1967 song written by Jerry Reed, who took his version of it to number 53 on the Billboard country music charts in 1967. Soon after Reed's single appeared, Elvis Presley recorded the song with Reed playing the guitar part, and it became a minor country and pop hit. According to Peter Guralnick in his two-volume biography of Presley, the singer had been trying unsuccessfully to record the tune, but wasn't happy with the groove. He said something to the effect of: "Get me that redneck picker who's on the original tune", and his staff brought Reed into the studio - who nailed it on the first take (though this romantic account is contradicted by a studio tape of the session that documents the first, second and fifth takes which are available on video-sharing website youtube.com). The single spent one week at number one on the country chart. Thirteen years later, "Guitar Man" was re-recorded in a new electric arrangement, with Presley's original vocal left intact, and it was the last of his eleven number one country hits. 
 
 

Bruce on the artist

 
 

Lyrics

Well, I quit my job down at the car wash,
Left my mama a goodbye note,
By sundown I'd left Kingston,
With my guitar under my coat,
I hitchhiked all the way down to Memphis,
Got a room at the YMCA,
For the next three weeks I went hauntin' them nightclubs,
Just lookin' for a place to play,
Well, I thought my pickin' would set 'em on fire,
But nobody wanted to hire a guitar man.
Well, I nearly 'bout starved to death down in Memphis,
I run outta money and luck,
So I bought me a ride down to Macon, Georgia,
On a overloaded poultry truck,
I thumbed on down to Panama City,
Started checkin' out some o' them all night bars,
Hopin' I could make myself a dollar,
Makin' music on my guitar,
I got the same old story at them all night piers,
There ain't no room around here for a guitar man
We don't need a guitar man, son
So I slept in the hobo jungles,
Roamed a thousand miles of track,
Till I found myself in Mobile Alabama,
At a club they call Big Jack's,
A little four-piece band was jammin',
So I took my guitar and I sat in,
I showed 'em what a band would sound like,
With a swingin' little guitar man.
Show 'em, son
If you ever take a trip down to the ocean,
Find yourself down around Mobile,
Make it on out to a club called Jack's,
If you got a little time to kill,
Just follow that crowd of people,
You'll wind up out on his dance floor,
Diggin' the finest little five-piece group,
Up and down the Gulf of Mexico,
Guess who's leadin' that five-piece band,
Well, wouldn't ya know, it's that swingin' little guitar man.