Rusty Young, the co-founder of country-rock band Poco whose 1979 soothing ballad “Crazy Love” was the group’s only top-10 hit, died Wednesday. He was 75.
Young died of a heart attack at his home in Davisville, Missouri, his spokesperson, Mike Farley, told Rolling Stone.
In 1968, Young formed Poco with Richie Furay, George Grantham and Jim Messina, People reported.
“I just received word that my friend Rusty Young has passed away and crossed that line into eternity,” co-founder Richie Furay said in a statement. “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.’”
Young was one of the first musicians to integrate the steel guitar, associated with country music, into rock ‘n’ roll, the magazine reported.
Furay told Rolling Stone that Young was an innovator with the instrument.
“Rusty was one of the most innovative people on the pedal steel guitar,” Poco founder Richie Furay told the magazine. “Nobody had ever heard a steel guitar run through a Leslie cabinet when we were doing it. We wanted to bring rock and country together, and that pedal steel gave us that rock ‘n’ roll organ sound.”
In 1967, Furay invited Young to Los Angeles to play steel guitar on Buffalo Springfield’s third and final album, “Last Time Around,” People reported. Poco was formed the following year.
Young expanded his role in the band, singing and writing songs. During the 1970s he emerged as Poco’s frontman after several original members left the group.
“Rusty was the most unpretentious, caring and idyllic artist I have ever worked with, a natural life force that he consistently poured into his music,” Ruster Alter, Poco’s manager for more than 20 years, said in a statement. “To fans and fellow musicians alike, he was a once-in-a-lifetime musician, songwriter, performer and friend.”