Rusty Young, the co-founder of Poco and the only member to have spanned its entire five-decade history, died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 75 at his home in Davisville, Missouri, a representative confirmed.
“I just found out that my friend Rusty Young has passed away and has crossed that line for eternity,” co-founder Richie Furay said in a statement. “My heart is saddened; he was a dear and longtime friend who helped me pioneer and create a new Southern California musical sound called “country rock”. He was an innovator on the steel guitar and carried the Poco name for over 50 years. Our friendship was real and he will be sorely missed. My prayers go out to his wife, Mary, and to his children Sara and Will. “
Poco and Young continued their tour until March 2020, ultimately derailed by the pandemic. The group was formed in 1968 by Furay and Jim Messina, members of Young and ex-Buffalo Springfield. Young later became the frontman when they left, leading the group to their most successful years in the ’70s.
Young was Poco’s most successful writer, Crazy Love, named the Contemporary Adult Song # 1 of 1979.
Born February 23, 1946 in Long Beach, California. Young grew up in Denver and performed lap steel in local bands. He came to Los Angeles in 1967 to play steel in sessions on Buffalo Springfield’s latest album, Last time.
A reunion album from 1989 Heritage, brought Furay, Messina and Randy Meisner back to Poco.
The final version of the group had Young backed by Jack Sundrud, Rick Lonow and Tom Hampton, and still did over 100 concerts a year. The band celebrated their 50th reunion in 2017. Young released their debut solo album, “Waitin ‘For The Sun” that same year.
Survivors include his wife, Mary, their daughter, Sara, her son, Will, and three young grandsons, Chandler, Ryan and Graham, as well as the three children of Mary, Joe, Marci and Hallie, and the grandchildren. Quentin and Emma.
A memorial service will be held on October 16 at the Wildwood Springs Lodge in Steelville, Missouri.