Country Rewind: Watch Jerry Reed Perform ‘East Bound & Down’ During 1981 ‘All-Star Party for Burt Reynolds’

by Jim Casey
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Jerry Reed paid tribute to his buddy Burt Reynolds by performing “East Bound and Down” during the 1981 CBS TV special, All-Star Party for Burt Reynolds.

There was plenty of star-power in the room during the Variety Club’s annual charity-themed comedy/variety special in 1981. For Burt’s big night, a who’s who of actors, singers, and entertainers were in attendance, including Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Stewart, Jackie Gleason, Dinah Shore, and more.

Previous recipients of the Variety Clubs International honors included Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, and more.

Before you hit “play” on Jerry’s performance of “East Bound and Down,” let’s set the stage for today’s Country Rewind.

The Snowman’s Hot

Of course, Jerry Reed was a guitar virtuoso and country star who scored a handful of hits in the 1970s. Jerry found success on the charts with “Amos Moses,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “Lord, Mr. Ford,” and more. Reed, who died in 2008, was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017.

Back in the 1970s, Jerry was a regular on Glen Campbell’s Goodtime Hour TV series. Eventually, this led to roles with Burt Reynolds in films such as 1975’s W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, 1976’s Gator, and 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit, as well as its sequels.

Jerry starred as Burt’s lovable sidekick, Cledus “Snowman” Snow, in Smokey and the Bandit. In addition to co-starring in the film, Jerry composed a number of songs for the flick, including “The Legend” and “East Bound and Down.”

Jerry released “East Bound and Down” as a single in 1977. The tune, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, became one of Jerry’s signature hits.

Jerry Reed Delivers

During the All-Star Party for Burt Reynolds, Jerry took the stage early in the evening and delivered a comfortable rendition of “East Bound and Down.”

Always the gregarious entertainer, Jerry moseyed through the seated crowd as he sang. After addressing Burt’s parents, Jerry said, “I love this man very much—stand up [Burt], the Snowman’s gonna hug your neck.”

Time to hit “play” to watch Jerry in action.

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