Guitar Icon Jimmy Capps Dead at 81

Guitar Icon Jimmy Capps Dead at 81

Nashville guitar icon Jimmy Capps has died at the age of 81.

Jimmy was a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame (2014) and a longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry’s house band. Jimmy was a sought-after session musician who performed on hundreds of songs, including The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira,” Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Barbara Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” Ronnie Milsap’s “Smokey Mountain Rain,” Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,” George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning” and many more.

“The news this morning about the passing of our dear friend Jimmy Capps has been devastating,” said Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys. “In a time of darkness, Jimmy was always a light. Like everyone else in Nashville, Jimmy was a part of our music and our career and our lives! This will take a while to process . . . the Oak Ridge Boys will sure miss ‘The Man in Back.’”

Jimmy first played the Opry as a teenager with the Louvin Brothers in December 1958 before going on to work with the Opry band. The band room at the Grand Ole Opry House was officially named the Jimmy Capps Music Room in December 2018.

Jimmy was recognized by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as a “Nashville Cat” in 2012. He released his autobiography, The Man in Back, in 2018.

photo courtesy Grand Ole Opry; photo by Chris Hollo