Musician and Poco co-founder, Rusty Young, has died at the age of 75 after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday evening. Spokesperson Mike Farley broke the news by confirming that the musical luminary had passed away at his home in Davisville, Missouri.
Fellow Poco co-founder Richie Furay told Variety, “I just received word that my friend Rusty Young has passed away and crossed that line into eternity. My heart is saddened; he was a dear and longtime friend who help me pioneer and create a new Southern California musical sound called ‘country-rock’.”
Furay continued, “He was an innovator on the steel guitar and carried the name Poco on for more than 50 years. Our friendship was real and he will be deeply missed. My prayers are with his wife, Mary, and his children Sara and Will.”
Poco toured continually in various iterations since their 1968 inception and were still on the road in March 2020 until the pandemic put a stop to their plans.
The origins of the band come from the break-up of Buffalo Springfield. Following the split, Richie Furay and Jim Messina were joined by Young who introduced the innovative pedal steel guitar. Up until then, the instrument had not escaped the clutches of country and Young is credited as being a key figure in bringing it into other genres.
Young wrote many of Poco’s biggest hits including ‘Crazy Love’, which was named the number one adult contemporary song of 1979. In a 2008 interview, Young said, “The only reason we’re talking now is ‘Crazy Love’. That was our first hit single. It’s a classic, and it still pays the mortgage.”
Rick Alter, the band’s long-time manager described Young as “the most unpretentious, caring and idyllic artist I have ever worked with, a natural life force that he consistently poured into his music. To fans and fellow musicians alike, he was a once-in-a-lifetime musician, songwriter, performer and friend.” Various other tributes from friends, fans and contemporaries have also matched this sentiment.
A memorial service will be held on October 16th at Wildwood Springs Lodge in Steelville, MO, where Young and his wife met 20 years ago.