Rusty Young, the cofounder of Poco and only member to last though its entire five-decade history, died Wednesday at 75 of a heart attack at his Davisville, Missouri home, a representative confirmed.
“I just received word that my friend Rusty Young has passed away and crossed that line into eternity,” cofounder 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.’ 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 and Young continued to tour through March 2020, finally derailed by the pandemic. The group was formed in 1968 by Young and ex-Buffalo Springfield members Furay and Jim Messina. Young later became the frontman when they departed, leading the group to its most successful years in the ’70s.
Young was the writer for Poco’s biggest hit “Crazy Love,” named the No. 1 adult contemporary song of 1979. Other Poco hits included “A Good Feelin’ to Know” and “Rose of Cimarron.”
Born on Feb. 23, 1946, in Long Beach, CA. Young grew up in Denver and played lap steel in local groups. He came to L.A. in 1967 to play steel on sessions for Buffalo Springfield’s final album, Last Time Around.
A 1989 reunion album, Legacy, brought Furay, Messina, and Randy Meisner back to Poco.
The final version of the band had Young backed by Jack Sundrud, Rick Lonow, and Tom Hampton, and was still doing more than 100 gigs a year. The group celebrated its 50th anniversary reunion in 2017. Young released his first solo album, “Waitin’ For The Sun ” that same year.
Survivors include his wife, Mary, their daughter, Sara, son, Will, and three young grandsons, Chandler, Ryan, and Graham, as well as Mary’s three children Joe, Marci and Hallie, and grandchildren Quentin and Emma.
A memorial service will be held October 16 at Wildwood Springs Lodge in Steelville, Missouri.