Heartbreak, first loves, patriotism, and alcohol. The list goes on and on. Thank goodness for the country music musicians who were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves by showing us a vast amount of emotions ranging from happiness to despair. From vinyl records to digital downloads, fans continue to flock to country music and celebrate their musical heroes’ legacies. There’s no denying country music is far from what it used to be.
Before television, families often gathered in the living room or kitchen to listen to the radio. The Grand Ole Opry was invited into homes all across America. It was broadcast from Nashville, Tennessee, which had become the core of country music business.
In the 30’s and 40’s, once the road was paved by the early acts, country music began to take the world by storm as Hollywood movies featured cowboy films and country stars. During this era, country music stars gained the same attention as other music stars, and some even surpassed them.
In the 50’s and 60’s, country music took on a refined tone blending big band jazz and even orchestras in songs of storytelling. During this time, a gritty side of country music with rock and roll called the Bakersfield Sound was introduced. Ask anyone who was raised in the 50’s, and they’ll talk to you for days on end about Johny Cash, Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, and Patsy Cline.
The Outlaw Movement of country music brought another side to the stage as stars sang about breaking the rules and living on the lam. By contrast, in the 80’s, big stars attracted fans by singing about love, family, and friends.
Today, the term county music can encompass many styles and subgenres. Some country songs are played on pop radio stations along with mainstream pop songs. What’s defined as country music has definitely changed, but one thing is for certain, country music history is a long and rich one.
So, you think you’re a true country music fan? Let’s see how well you can do at naming country music legends.