Standout Guitarist Pete Carr Passes

Musicians Hall of Fame member Pete Carr died on Saturday (June 27) at age 70.

Based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, he was unique in that musical community in that he succeeded as a session guitarist, record producer, engineer, songwriter and recording artist. Carr played lead guitar in the Fame and Muscle Shoals Sounds studios, backing Bob Seger, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, The Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Joe Cocker, Paul Anka, Kim Carnes and dozens of others.

Among the many Nashville artists that Carr backed are Hank Williams Jr., Becky Hobbs, Dobie Gray, Willie Nelson, Paul Davis, Billy Swan, Narvel Felts, Russell Smith and Marie Osmond.

As a member of the pop group LeBlanc & Carr with Lenny LeBlanc, he had a big hit with “Falling” in 1977. He was also a member of the 1979 group Boatz featuring lead singer Thom Flora. Carr recorded two solo albums, 1975’s Not a Word on It and 1978’s Multiple Flash.

Born Jesse Willard Carr, “Pete” Carr grew up in Florida and was influenced by the instrumental rock records of The Ventures. His first notable recording sessions were with Hour Glass and The Allman Joys in 1968. These groups later evolved into The Allman Brothers Band, and Carr formed a lasting friendship with fellow guitarist Duane Allman.

He moved to Muscle Shoals around 1970. Carr produced Sailcat and its hit “Motorcycle Mama” in 1972. Throughout the 1970s, he was in demand as a session guitarist. He can be heard prominently on such hits as Bob Seger’s “Mainstreet” (1977), Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night” (1976), Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb’s “Guilty” (1980), Luther Ingram’s “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to be Right” (1972) and Mary MacGregor’s “Torn Between Two Lovers” (1977).

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, including Pete Carr, co-produced Paul Simon’s acclaimed There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973) and Still Crazy After All These Years (1975). His guitar work is on such resulting hits as “Kodachrome” (1973).

Carr also co-produced Bob Seger’s LP Stranger in Town, which featured the 1979 hit “Old Time Rock & Roll,” and part of 1980’s Against the Wind (notably “Fire Lake”).

In later years, he studied computer science and explored digital data storage solutions for music. Pete Carr was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville in 2008.

He resided in Florence, Alabama. Pete Carr is survived by his wife Charlotte and son John Carr.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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