One of the unsung heroes of the country-rock movement, steel guitarist and songwriter Sneaky Pete Kleinow was born August 20, 1934, in South Bend, IN. Influenced by the music of Jerry Byrd, he took up the steel guitar at the age of 17 and, after graduating high school, spent over a decade as a road maintenance worker for the Michigan State Highway Department. In 1963, Kleinow relocated to Los Angeles, where he became a regular performer on the city's club circuit; he also found work composing jingles and even wrote the theme music for the children's series Gumby. In addition, he began working in Hollywood developing special effects for films.
After two more Burritos LPs — 1976's Airborne and 1978's Live in Tokyo — Kleinow cut his first solo record, Sneaky Pete, in 1978. Following one final Burritos album, 1981's Hearts on the Line, he gradually withdrew from the music industry to focus on creating special effects; the films he worked on included The Empire Strikes Back, The Right Stuff, Gremlins, and both Terminator features. Nevertheless, he occasionally returned to music, performing with diverse artists like Leonard Cohen, Medicine, and the Golden Palominos. In 1994, he released the solo effort The Legend and the Legacy and led a new Burritos lineup on a tour of Europe. ~ Jason Ankeny