100 Greatest Men: The Complete List From the vantage point of history, he is the indisputable King of Rock & Roll. But he earned that title through his ability to perform country, blues, and R&B successfully, and it is often his impact as a country artist that is most easily overlooked. Presley was born into deep poverty in Mississippi, laying the groundwork for his exposure to American roots music. By his teenage years, he was living in Memphis, and it is in that city where he would be discovered by Sun Records owner Sam Phillips. His work for Sun Records cannot be overstated in its significance. On those early recordings, he brought together elements of country, blues, and R&B into a sound called rockabilly, which created the very foundation for what would soon be known as rock and roll. His cover of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was among Read More
100 Greatest Men
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Since arriving on the country music scene in 1989, Alan Jackson has become one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful superstars to ever call country music home. Amazingly, in this modern era, he did it all as a traditionalist. Hailing from small town Georgia, Jackson started with singing gospel, but by his teenage years, he was already part of a local country duo. He worked odd jobs while performing with his country band, and got his first big break when his wife, Denise, passed on his demo tape to Glen Campbell after a chance meeting in an airport. He encouraged them to move to Nashville, and Jackson continued to work odd jobs while honing his craft as a singer and songwriter.
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Over the course of just fourteen years, Charley Pride accumulated 29 #1 country hits, proof positive that his switch from professional baseball to music was the right one. Pride hailed from Sledge, Mississippi, one of eleven sharecropper children. He was a guitar player early on, but he first made his name in baseball, playing in both the Negro League and on several minor league baseball teams, including the Memphis Red Sox and the Boise Yankees. His career was derailed by a stint in the Army, followed by an arm injury that made his signature pitching an impossibility. He worked construction while unsuccessfully auditioning for baseball teams, then turned his attention to music.
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List In 2008, the Statler Brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Five members of the quartet were inducted, a tribute to their status as one of the few groups in recorded music to achieve legendary success both before and after a high-profile lineup change. The Statler Brothers got their name from a tissue box, though two of them – Harold and Don Reid – were actually brothers. First performing as the Kingsmen, hey started as a church singing group in Staunton, Virginia. Harold initially performed as part of a trio with Phil Balsley and Lew DeWitt, and Don joined later on, making them a quartet. They opened a local show for Johnny Cash, who was so impressed that he invited them to join his traveling show and helped them score a contract with Columbia Records.
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Tom T. Hall is known as the Storyteller, a fitting title for a man whose ability to spin a musical yarn led to some of the greatest country story songs of all-time, many of which he sang himself. His childhood set the stage for a career in music. His father gave him a guitar when he was eight, and he learned music from his hometown neighbor Clayton Delaney, later the subject of Hall’s longest-running #1 single. His mother died when he was just 11, and when a hunting accident four years later made it impossible for his father to work, Hall joined the workforce of a garment factory at age 15.
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Roy Acuff is responsible for not only some of the genre’s foundational recordings, but for helping to put Nashville on the map as a star of the Grand Ole Opry, a music publishing tycoon, and even a candidate for governor of Tennessee. Not bad for a middle child from rural Tennessee, the son of a prominent family from the small town of Maynardville. Though both of his parents were skilled musicians, his passion was baseball, and he got as far as minor league tryouts before sunstroke ended his budding career. He chose to hone his skills with the fiddle, and began performing around the south as part of a touring medicine show. Incorporating the southern gospel song, “Great Speckled Bird”, into his performances caught the attention of the record companies. By the end of the thirties, he had several hits and a Grand Ole Read More
An impressive run of hit singles and his visible Opry stardom gave him tremendous success as a singer, but it’s been Bill Anderson’s songwriting that’s kept him topping the country charts for decades longer than even his most successful contemporaries.
The ultimate icon of Southern country rock, Hank Williams Jr. emerged from the long, influential shadow of his father to become one of the genre’s most distinctive personalities.
In the early eighties, a new kind of country band surfaced, structured like the rock bands that came before them, but deeply grounded in country instrumentation. Alabama were the pioneers of the field, and they reached a level of superstardom beyond most bands of any genre during their peak.
Gentleman Jim Reeves started off as a hardcore country singer, but his smooth crossover stylings would become synonymous with the Nashville Sound, combining with tragedy to grant him country music immortality only a dozen years into his career.