Producer Chip Young Dead at 76
Guitarist and producer Chip Young died Dec. 20 at the age of 76 in Nashville, Tenn., a month after undergoing triple bypass surgery at St. Thomas Hospital.
Young, a.k.a. Jerry Marvin Stembridge, was born in Atlanta, Ga., on May 19, 1938, and began his remarkable career in the 1950s, playing with guitarist Jerry Reed and singer-songwriter Joe South. In the '60s and '70s, Young lent his notable thumb-picking talents to Dolly Parton's hit 'Jolene,' Elvis Presley's 'Guitar Man,' Charley Pride's 'Kiss an Angel Good Morning' and many other fan-favorite songs.
He was a regular member of Presley's studio band from 1965 until the King's death in 1977. Young worked with other talented artists as well, including Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kris Kristofferson, Porter Wagoner, George Jones, Willie Nelson, the Oak Ridge Boys and Reba McEntire, among others.
Young also released his own album in 2000, titled 'Having Thumb Fun With My Friends,' featuring other top-notch guitarists like Reed, Chet Atkins, Jimmy Capps and several other accomplished musicians.
He was inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2009, and in 2010, the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum spotlighted Young in its Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians series.
"Just try and imagine Dolly Parton's ‘Jolene’ without Chip Young's thumb. It's impossible," Young's son-in-law, Bobby Bare, Jr., tells the Nashville Scene. "Chip was one of the best, hardest-working session picker / producer / engineers Nashville has ever seen. But he was even better at being a granddad, family man and a Christian. His family will miss him dearly.”
Young is survived by his wife, Diane Parker-Stembridge, and daughter Megan Lee Bare. The Boot extends our condolences to them, as well as to Young's other family and friends.
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