Ben Keith was an American pedal steel guitarist.
Ben Keith was born in Kansas, and later moved to Nashville to find work as a session musician. He performed as an in-demand pedal steel guitarist throughout the 60s, his first big session being Patsy Cline's 1961 hit "I Fall To Pieces".
It was in 1971 that he first worked with Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, who was recording his Harvest album in Nashville. After the success of Harvest, Keith joined Young for his infamous 1973 Time Fades Away tour as a member of The Stray Gators. Since then he remained as Young's almost permanent pedal steel guitarist, appearing on almost all of his albums throughout the 70s and beyond. He not only played pedal steel, but also dobro, lap steel and rhythm guitar, as well as occasional keyboards. He frequently toured with Young, and his beautiful, sparse steel guitar lines have becoming a defining part of Young's more country-flavoured work.
In addition to his work with Young, Keith performed and recorded with various artists including JJ Cale, Emmylou Harris, Lonnie Mack, Bobby Charles, Ian & Sylvia, The Band, Graham Nash, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Ringo Starr, Todd Rundgrenn, and many more. He also occasionally worked as a record producer.
Ben Keith died in the summer of 2010, aged 73.