Jimmy Capps, a versatile guitarist who played on some of the biggest country hits of the 1970s and ’80s and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry’s house band for more than five decades, died here on Monday. He was 81.
His son Mark confirmed the death but did not specify the cause.
Known among his peers as the “master of smoothness” for his seemingly effortless technique, Mr. Capps was a guitarist on signature hits like Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” George Jones’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and Barbara Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”
He also contributed the filigreed acoustic guitar figure to Kenny Rogers’s “The Gambler” and the gutbucket electric guitar riff to the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira.” All five of those records reached No. 1 on the Billboard country singles chart; “Elvira,” “The Gambler” and “Stand By Your Man” were major pop hits as well.
According to his website, Mr. Capps played on more than 500 recording sessions a year at the peak of his career, many of them under the supervision of renowned Nashville producers like Billy Sherrill and Owen Bradley.