Country Music History December 8th
Today, we are taking a deeper look at the life of Roy Acuff.
Acuff, back in 1991, was the first country artist recognized in the Kennedy Center Honors, attended by president George Bush. Among the participants in the Washington, D.C., ceremony, shot for a CBS-TV special: Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Steve Wariner and Bill Monroe.
Acuff was known as 'The King of Country Music' before George Strait, that is. Acuff began his music career in the 1930's, Acuff's band, 'Smokey Mountain Boys', which came from the mountains that Acuff and his band mates grew up around.
His band signed a contract with the 'Grand Old Opry' in Nashville, Tennessee, where Acuff became a well-known performer and promoter.
Some of Acuff's top hits include 'Great Speckled Bird', 'Wabash Cannonball', and 'Night Train to Memphis', among many others.
Acuff was a big baseball guy, too. He tired out for the Knoxville Smokes, who were an affiliate team of the New York Giants, who are now the San Francisco Giants. He didn't make the team after he had a few collapses after a sunstroke. He wasn't much of a fan of the sun ever since.
According to theboot.com, Acuff paved the way for other country artist to receive the honor including, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn.
Acuff passed away on November 23, 1992, almost one year after he was recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.