HomeNewsJimmy Capps: Artists + Friends Remember the Music Legend

    Jimmy Capps: Artists + Friends Remember the Music Legend

    Musicians Hall of Fame member and Grand Ole Opry veteran Jimmy Capps has died at the age 81 due to health complications. Capps started with The Louvin Brothers and eventually became a highly sought after session musician right here in Nashville. He’s featured on recordings like the Oak Ridge Boys‘ “Elvira,” Tammy Wynette‘s “Stand By Your Man,” Barbara Mandrell‘s “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” and George Jones‘ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” among many others. He was a staff member at the Grand Ole Opry since 1967.

    Today, artists and friends are mourning the loss of Capps. Here are some of them.

    “I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of my dear friend, Jimmy Capps. Jimmy was maybe the kindest and most considerate person I knew in the music business. A pro’s pro, he played an important role in many of my recordings and every Opry performance we ever played together. Rozene and I send our sympathy and heartfelt prayers to Michele and all of Jimmy’s family.” – Charley Pride

    “The news this morning about the passing of our dear friend Jimmy Capps has been devastating. 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 … Until the DAY.” – Joe Bonsall / Oak Ridge Boys

    “I have been singing professionally since I graduated from the university over 55 years ago. Jimmy Capps has been a part of my career from the beginning with The Oak Ridge Boys, starting with our gospel days and all the way through to some of our biggest hits. When you hear the guitar intro to “You’re The One In A Million,” that is Jimmy Capps playing. Recently, I went to the Musicians Hall of Fame and saw a display honoring Jimmy Capps. In that display was the guitar that Jimmy played on “Elvira.” My wife, Norah Lee, has sung on the Grand Ole Opry for over 40 years. For most of those years, especially when the Opry was at the Ryman, Norah Lee has ridden with Jimmy and Michelle Capps to work. This is another gut punch for me personally, losing one of my very best friends. I ask that you remember Michelle and Jimmy’s sons in your prayers. Today, there is a hole in the music industry, but Jimmy Capps’ contributions will stand the test of time. Rest in peace, Jimmy, in the arms of Jesus.” – Duane Allen / The Oak Ridge Boys

    “When I first came to Nashville Jimmy Capps was already a fixture as one of the great guitar players. I worked with Jimmy many times and I got to know him and his wonderful wife Michele even better these last several years at the Opry. Jimmy was always ready with a smile, a kind word and a great guitar lick. I can’t imagine the Opry without Jimmy Capps. These crazy times are much sadder this morning.” – Crystal Gayle

    “I always felt extremely lucky, and a bit awed, to be around Jimmy – he was the ultimate guitar player – Mr. Smooth! More importantly, he was a real gentleman – one of the nicest, most humble musicians I’ve ever met. And, he and Michelle obviously had a great,  loving relationship; it was apparent from being around them. RIP, Jimmy! Love to Michelle, Mark and his family. Another great one gone.” Marlon Hargis / Exile

    “Oh boy. This is a hard one to hear. The Country Music world knows how gifted Jimmy was, but those of us who knew his warmth and generosity were the true lucky ones. Condolences to Michelle. RIP.” – JP Pennington / Exile

    “Waking up to this sad news has hit very hard! Meeting Jimmy Capps on the Opry was an honor and a thrill and then actually getting to know him and experience his warmth, humor and amazing talent was an absolute joy! There are certain individuals who are, or become, legends and in this business, he was all that and more. We are heartbroken at his passing and extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Michele, his son Mark, family and all who loved him. The Heavenly choir has gained a CPA, (certified guitar picker!) RIP, Jimmy.” – Sonny LeMaire / Exile

    “I am shocked and very saddened to hear that Jimmy Capps has passed away. He was on 90% of the songs that I’ve recorded and he can never be replaced. He was always one of the most authentic and genuine guys I’ve ever known and has accomplished so much in life. We are all so much better for knowing him. One thing that people will miss is looking over their shoulder and seeing Jimmy there. We will all miss you, Jimmy. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Michele.” – B.J. Thomas

    “I have been blessed to work with Jimmy down through the years. He was a universally loved, Godly man, a double-super cool Nashville cat and you couldn’t ask for a better friend. Sheila and I pray for Michelle and the rest of his family at this time. Rest in peace, pal.” – T. Graham Brown

    “Sending our love and prayers to Michele Capps. Just heard of the passing of Nashville musician Jimmy Capps. His musicianship was heard at the Grand Ole Opry, Country’s Family Reunion and as The Sheriff on Larry’s Country Diner. I’ve sailed many music cruises with Jimmy and I know he was so honored to be inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. He was always humble and kind and will be missed by many. Rest In Sweet Peace Jimmy Capps.” – Rhonda Vincent

    “My love and prayers go out to his wife, Michelle, and all his family and friends, the Grand Ole Opry folks and more. Jimmy was much loved by all and will be missed.” David Ball

    “I am heartbroken over the loss of our great friend Jimmy Capps. He was and always will be a country music icon. It was an honor and [a] privilege to work with him and call him my friend. He was such an amazingly gifted musician, sweet spirit, tender-hearted and beautiful soul! I know Jesus has welcomed Jimmy with open arms into his Heavenly home. My prayers are with Michele & the family. Rest In Peace Jimmy. We love you.” – Deborah Allen

    “Jimmy was so incredibly talented; his playing came from endless experiences – he always knew “what to play” and always elevated the music – just having him in the room made the music sound better. A sweet, sensitive soul who will be greatly missed.” – Michael Bonagura / Baillie & The Boys

    “I loved Jimmy Capps. He was one of my mentors. I played alongside him in the studio and at the Grand Ole Opry for over four decades. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can see him walking through the Opry artist entrance, guitar case in hand. He walked slowly–with purpose. He was there to put on the best show he could. He loved the music. It was his life. He was the best rhythm guitar player I have EVER worked with. He was a perfectionist. As good as he was, he continued to practice and hone. That’s what made him so damn good. You could always count on him to know what to play and where to play it. We shared stories and secrets. There were times he treated me like a brother. There were times he treated me like a son. But every time we were together, he treated me like a friend. R.I.P, James D. Thank you for being such a great teacher. I learned from the best — Timbo.” – Tim Atwood

    “I’ll always cherish the memories of any time that I was blessed to share the stage with Jimmy Capps. He is the epitome of a classic country music guitarist and one of the nicest people I ever met. RIP Jimmy Capps – we all love you dearly!” – Shane Owens

    “My thoughts are with the family of Opry Legend/guitarist Mr. Jimmy Capps. What an incredible legacy he will leave behind. One of Nashville’s most well-respected guitarists. I had the honor of meeting him backstage at the Opry last year. He was soft-spoken and so humble. I will never forget asking him “How many times have you played the Opry in your career?” He looked at me and grinned and said “way too many to count ha ha!” – Treasured memory of Jimmy. God bless him.” – J.D. Shelburne

    “It absolutely breaks my heart to hear of the passing of Mr. Jimmy Capps. Not only was he a legendary musician, giving so much of his life to country music, but he had a heart of gold. His creativity and talent reached far into so many homes all around the world, from his time spent in the studio to his time spent playing on the Grand Ole Opry. Not only that but being born in North Carolina towns that were only 20 miles from each other, Mr. Jimmy has always been such an inspiration to me. From the time I was a little girl just starting to get into music, I believed someone like me from a small town in North Carolina could make it because of how successful he was. He will truly be missed, and my thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this hard time.” – Paige King Johnson

    “I am convinced that Jimmy was the most-loved person in Nashville. EVERY artist loved him so much. While his book, The Man in Back, was a great tribute to him, I thought he deserved even more. So I produced a TV documentary on his life. When he saw it, he cried and cried. He said, “It’s kind of like going to your own funeral.” I replied, “I wanted to bring your flowers while you were still here. I wanted you to see how much you mean to everyone.” When it comes to the greatest men who ever walked the earth… I’d put Jimmy Capps in the top two, just behind another JC, Jesus Christ.” Scot England / Author of The Man In Back