Chatting with Valley musician Rockin’ Reggie Vinson is like taking a tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, with side trips to Nashville, Las Vegas and Hollywood.

The guitarist and singer-songwriter has performed with and befriended many legendary artists over the years. His recent biography “Still Got a Song in Me: Looking through the Eyes of a Rockin’ Life” details his adventures with some of the biggest names in the entertainment business.

Vinson, who grew up in Detroit, was born with music in his genes. He’s the nephew of Minnie Pearl and the cousin of Pat Boone. It was another relative, however, who helped him find his passion. “My mother, Lillie, taught me a few guitar chords when I was 12, and a dream in my heart was born,” Vinson says.

His first break was landing a gig in Chuck Berry’s backup band at a concert in Columbus, Ohio, in the late 1960s. The rock legend had different groups accompany him at every venue on his tour. There was no rehearsing, and when asked what they were going to play, the star declared, “Chuck Berry songs, man!” The simple plan worked, as Vinson recalls the 45-minute concert as “pure bliss.”

Vinson’s next brush with fame occurred when he was singing “Big Boss Man” with his band at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. Etta James stopped in and asked to accompany him. The two hit it off, and Vinson went on to tour with James as the only white musician in her band.

In the early 1970s, Vinson started his long-time musical association with Valley resident Alice Cooper, which resulted in him singing backup vocals on the rock anthem, “School’s Out” and cowriting “Billion Dollar Babies.”

Vinson’s biography includes revealing stories about a host of celebrities, including Elton John, Kiss, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lee Lewis, Liberace and Little Richard. But Vinson recalls his most starstruck experience when he was at the Record Plant recording studio in New York City in 1974, adding background vocals to tracks for bluesman Johnny Winters.

Shelly Yakus, the sound engineer, asked Vinson if he played bass. Vinson said he didn’t; he was a guitarist. “Well, that’s too bad because John Lennon is in a nearby studio looking for a bass player to sit in with him,” Yakus replied.

After some hasty arrangements, Vinson procured a bass and walked into the studio to meet the former Beatle. Lennon, who was separated from Yoko Ono at the time, was in his “Lost Weekend” phase and offered Vinson a whiskey bottle before joining in. Vinson took a swig and could tell by Lennon’s reaction he wasn’t impressed, so he gulped a much healthier dose.

“So, you’re Rockin’ Reggie, eh? I like that name,” Lennon said. The two, along with Harry Nilsson on drums and Peter Wolf of The J. Geils Band fame on the keyboard, started working through some early rock standards, which would later surface on Lennon’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll” album.

The group kicked into “Heartbreak Hotel,” which Vinson was able to do playing an unfamiliar instrument. But the story gets better.

Before they started the next tune, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel entered the studio. Simon came over to Vinson and said. “Hello, I’m Paul Simon. Can I meet John Lennon? I met him once before, but I’m not sure he’ll remember me.” Vinson then introduced two of the biggest acts in the 1960s to each other, who joined in the jam session.

In the late 1970s, Vinson changed genres and landed a long-term gig opening for Liberace at the Las Vegas Hilton. During this period, Vinson became a born-again Christian and performed with Johnny Cash at a Billy Graham crusade in Las Vegas.

Now living just outside of Nashville in Hendersonvill TN, Vinson continues to write and perform music and recently shared the stage with his old pal, Alice Cooper, for the 2018 Christmas Pudding show.

He was also just signed to MC1/Sony music in 2021 to continue his musical journey.

Vinson’s thoughts about his fascinating life? “If you have a dream, run for it.”