FROM BAN­JOS TO BIG TIME

How­coun­try mu­sic took off

Los Angeles Times - - PA­RADE -

Early 1920s Mu­si­cians in the Ap­palachian Moun­tains had been play­ing “coun­try” for decades. It gained more ex­po­sure as ra­dio shows—in­clud­ing the Grand Ole

Opry out of Nashville in 1925— be­gan broad­cast­ing.

1927 The Carter Fam­ily and Jim­mie Rodgers are “dis­cov­ered” and recorded in a Bris­tol, Tenn. stu­dio.

1930s Gene Autry and other singing movie cow­boys put the west­ern in “coun­try west­ern” mu­sic.

1945 Earl Scruggs joins Bill Mon­roe’s Blue Grass Boys on stage at Nashville’s Ry­man Au­di­to­rium. Blue­grass gets a wider au­di­ence.

1954 Elvis Pres­ley spawns a rock ‘n’ roll sound that first threat­ens and later in­forms coun­try mu­sic.

1966 Charley Pride, the first African-Amer­i­can coun­try mu­sic su­per­star, hits the charts.

1969-1971 Buck Owens and Roy Clark host coun­try mu­sic/com­edy show Hee-Haw, a na­tion­wide TV hit.

1973 Out­law move­ment (Wil­lie Nel­son, Way­lon Jen­nings and crew) hits its stride.

1986 A Ten­nessee theme park gets a new name af­ter Dolly Par­ton (the most hon­ored coun­try mu­sic artist of all time) takes part own­er­ship. Dol­ly­wood gives some 3 mil­lion vis­i­tors a year a slice of coun­try life and lots of coun­try mu­sic.

1989 En­ter Garth Brooks, the No. 1-sell­ing solo artist (in any genre) of all time. 2000 Best­selling O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound­track spurs a roots-mu­sic re­vival.

2004 Rocker Jack White pro­duces coun­try queen Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose, spark­ing a long­time cross-gen­er­a­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion.

2006 Tay­lor Swift’s teenage heart­string-pulling songs launch her on a path to be­come the genre’s top star.

2011-2012 Coun­try hits na­tional TV again: NBC launches the mu­sic com­pe­ti­tion The Voice, putting coun­try star Blake Shel­ton and his con­tes­tants (some of whom win the com­pe­ti­tion) into the lime­light. And ABC pre­mieres Nashville, a se­ries that fol­lows fic­tional coun­try mu­si­cians in Mu­sic City.

2013 Kenny Ch­es­ney (who is hit­ting the road with Ja­son Aldean this year) packs sta­di­ums, top­ping ticket sales of su­per­stars from Jay-Z and Justin Tim­ber­lake to Madonna and U2.

Visit coun­try­mu­sichallof­fame.org and opry.com for­more in­for­ma­tion about the his­tory of coun­try­mu­sic.

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