Happy birthday Chet Atkins!

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Chet Atkins (June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001) was an American guitarist and record producer known for creating the smooth country music style known as the Nashville sound. Atkins produced records for many country music legends, including The Browns, Porter Wagoner, Norma Jean, Dolly Parton, Elvis, Perry Como, the Everly Brothers, and many others. Atkins received 14 Grammy Awards, as well as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Chet Atkins was born in Luttrell, Tennessee and grew up in considerable poverty. In high school, Atkins became a skilled guitarist, and often practiced in the school restroom because of the improved acoustics. Atkins dropped out of high school in 1942 and began a job at WNOX-AM radio in Knoxville, playing fiddle and guitar with Bill Carlisle and comedian Archie Campbell. In 1946, Atkins appeared for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry as a member of Red Foley's band. In 1949, Atkins joined June Carter and Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters on KWTO-AM in Springfield, Missouri. He became a member of The Opry in the 1950s and continued performing with the group in Nashville.

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Atkins developed a reputation as a skilled producer and session leader, and later became a consultant for an eponymous line of electric guitars from Gretsch. His first hit single was "Mr. Sandman, followed by "Silver Bell." He was featured on The Eddy Arnold Show and the Country Music Jubilee in 1957 and 1958. After working successfully with Elvis Presley, Atkins, was put in RCA Victor's Nashville Studio, and soon developed the Nashville sound which was closely associated with Atkin's record company. He became known for successfully engineering cross-over hits from country to pop music, and was nicknamed "Mister Guitar." Atkins performed at the White House for presidents Kennedy through George H.W. Bush.

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During the tumultuous era of the Civil Rights Movement in the country, Atkins signed country music's first African American singer, Charley Pride. His label also included country greats like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Connie Smith, Jerry Reed, and other musicians.

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Later in his career, Atkins collaborated with Les Paul to record Chester & Lester and Guitar Monsters, the former of which became of his best-selling records. In 1982, he left RCA for Columbia Records, producing a debut album the next year. He also recorded albums with Suzy Bogguss, Mark Knopfler, and Jerry Reed. In his later years, Atkins returned occasionally to radio and appeared on the program Prairie Home Companion.

 

 

 

 

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Friday, 20 June 2014
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