Roy Acuff

September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992

“He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.” – Hank Williams

As a young man in Tennessee, Roy Claxton Acuff wanted to be a baseball player. When that didn’t work out for him, he found solace in some country-western records his dad gave him. With his mind successfully off of baseball, he decided he wanted to be an entertainer and so he set out to become one.

Acuff got his professional start in traveling medicine shows. That eventually led to forming a band called the Tennessee Crackerjacks with some musicians he’d met along the way. The Crackerjacks later changed their name to the Crazy Tennesseans and headed to Nashville. After successfully auditioning for the Grand Ole Opry, the band became the Smoky Mountain Boys and the audiences flocked to see them. Though the whole band was talented, people clamored for Roy’s powerful vocals. Country music to that point had been VERY band-focused, with singers just sort of part of the sound. Roy Acuff put the singer front and center and changed the very dynamic of the genre.

Roy’s legendary career spanned more than half a century. He became known as the “King of Country Music” and remains one of the most decorated and honored country singers of all time. His later career found many resurgences with cameos in new generation country acts like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He eventually “retired” back to Opryland, where he made regular appearances throughout the rest of his life. Acuff died in Nashville in 1992 at the age of 89.

Burial

Spring Hill Cemetery – Nashville, TN

Specific Location

Hillcrest, Lot 9 Grave 6; Enter the cemetery and turn right. The ACUFF plot is immediately on your left. Across the road from the “King of Bluegrass” himself, Jimmy Martin.

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