Archive for Grand Ole Opry

Earl Scruggs

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , , on September 27, 2021 by Cade

January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012

There are banjo players…and then there’s THE banjo player.

Earl Eugene Scruggs not only reinvented how the instrument was used, but he opened the door for an entire new genre of music. As a young man, Earl joined the fabled Blue Grass Boys (led by the legendary Bill Monroe) where his patented 3-finger picking style helped shape and define the band’s sound. “Bluegrass” would eventually become an entire sub-genre in Country music and many of the sounds that came from the Blue Grass Boys became archetypes for the style. Maybe none more so than Scruggs’ fast-paced, solo banjo picking. Continue reading

Roy Acuff

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on August 30, 2021 by Cade

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. Continue reading

Chet Atkins

Posted in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens with tags , , , on February 15, 2021 by Cade

atkins3
June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001

Iconic guitarist, instrumentalist and producer, Chester “Chet” Atkins rarely basked in the limelight during his 50+ year career. He was more than happy to play on a friend’s record, or churn out hit after hit from the helm of the now-legendary RCA Victor studio in Nashville, Tennessee. That is not to say he wasn’t gifted in his own right. You don’t win 14 Grammys, 9 CMA awards or earn the nickname “Mr. Guitar” by being a slouch. But his biggest contribution to the music industry was undoubtedly his time spent cultivating the “Nashville Sound” that allowed Country music to successfully cross over to Pop audiences throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

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Minnie Pearl

Posted in Mt. Hope Cemetery (TN) with tags , , on November 16, 2020 by Cade

October 25, 1912 – March 4, 1996

All together now: “How-DEEE!”

The stage of the Grand Ole Opry is hallowed ground. Whether it was the historic stage of the famed Ryman Auditorium, or the newfangled stage at the modern Opry House, setting foot upon it can be life-changing for anyone with the fortune to do so. It transforms performers. None more literally than a young comedienne named Sarah Colley, who stepped onto the Opry stage and became…Minnie Pearl.

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Patsy Cline

Posted in Shenandoah Memorial Park with tags , , on November 2, 2020 by Cade

cline1September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963

If country music has official royalty, Patsy Cline was its first queen.

Virginia Patterson Hensley knew she wanted to be a singer from the very beginning. Though she worked odd jobs in her Virginia hometown out of a need to help her family, it wasn’t long until she was aiming higher and soliciting auditions wherever and whenever she could. Following a brief illness at the age of 15 that affected her throat…and therefore her voice, Ginny realized quickly that she had been given a gift. Local radio shows and a stint with a regional country band followed and soon, her gift was being shared on television and larger radio markets.

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Little Jimmy Dickens

Posted in Woodlawn Memorial Park (TN) with tags , , on January 4, 2015 by Cade

dickens1December 19, 1920 – January 2, 2015

James Cecil “Little Jimmy” Dickens stood just 4’11”. But the persona he left behind loomed much, much larger. Dickens was known for his outlandish, rhinestone-laden outfits and novelty hits such as “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.” He was a member of both the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Continue reading

Eddy Arnold

Posted in Woodlawn Memorial Park (TN) with tags , , on March 13, 2014 by Cade

arnold2May 15, 1918 – May 8, 2008

In the vast landscape that is American country music, few artists – if any – had the type of unbelievable success that Richard Edward “Eddy” Arnold had in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. Arnold played the radio station circuit for years before breaking into the country charts with 1945’s “Each Minute Seems a Million Years.” Over the next decade, he would chart more than 40 singles on the country charts – many of which hit and stayed at No. 1.The 1950’s brought Rock ‘n’ Roll to the forefront and Eddy’s career waned.

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Marty Robbins

Posted in Woodlawn Memorial Park (TN) with tags , , , on March 5, 2014 by Cade

robbins1September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982

Martin David Robinson (Marty Robbins) was a singer, actor and sometime NASCAR driver who found his career by way of the Navy and a small-time Phoenix television show. His major country hits “El Paso” and “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation” were also successful on the pop charts. Robbins appeared in a couple of films such as Guns of a Stranger and the Clint Eastwood movie, Honkytonk Man. In his spare time, Marty liked to race cars. Like, professionally. Continue reading

Johnny Paycheck

Posted in Woodlawn Memorial Park (TN) with tags , , , on February 28, 2014 by Cade

paycheck1May 31, 1938 – February 19, 2003

Donald Eugene Lytle, known to the world as Johnny Paycheck, was a country singer/songwriter whose biggest hit became an anthem for disgruntled employees for generations. Paycheck recorded “Take This Job and Shove It” in 1977 and it became his only number 1 hit. Though, Johnny had a number of smaller hits throughout his career, too. He was part of the “outlaw” movement of country music in the 1970’s. But, unlike many of his other outlaw contemporaries, Johnny lived it. Continue reading

Webb Pierce

Posted in Woodlawn Memorial Park (TN) with tags , , on February 25, 2014 by Cade

pierce3August 8, 1921 – February 24, 1991

Webb Michael Pierce was a flashy honky tonk singer and guitar player who was one of the most recognizable talents on the 1950’s. Pierce topped the country charts with hits like “In The Jailhouse Now” and “Wondering” and was a member of the fabled Grand Ole Opry. His was a persona and a life of excess. His custom-made suits, silver-dollar-lined cars and piano-shaped swimming pools were indicative of his personal tastes. Even though he had a reputation as a hard drinker, Pierce continued to work in the industry, recording duets with the likes of Willie Nelson and his daughter, Debbie, though his popularity was never as high as it was early in career.  Webb Pierce died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 69. Continue reading