Country is all about tradition. The followers of country don't want experimentation of any kind, or the noise that usually accompanies it, they want a music of wide-open spaces and big skies, mirroring and celebrating the vast American landscape.
Read about the illustrious history of Country music
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Key events in country
After a search for white artistes to emulate the success of the label's black performers, Ralph Peer of Victor Records signs both Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. These acts become the first superstars of Country music. Grand Ole Opry
First broadcast of WSM Radio's Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The world's longest running radio show was the first to broadcast country musicacross the US and has become an institution. To be invited to become a member of the Opry cast is one of the greatest honours in the genre. Hank Williams
A legend of Country, Hank Williams debuted at The Grand Ole Opry. His performance of "Lovesick Blues" won him an unprecedented six encores. He was to become a regular on the show, until he was fired for bad behaviour, shortly before his death on New Year's Day 1953, at the age of 29. Nashville Evolves
In 1957 Chet Atkins became head of RCA. "Mr Guitar" helped Nashville become the commercial and creativeepicentre for country music recording that it is today. RCA’s famed Studio B saw classic recordings by Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers and Elvis. Garth Brooks
The biggest superstar country music has ever known – in record sales at least! – took his first steps towards mega-stardom when he performed at Nashville's prestigious Bluebird Café. Garth Crooks received a standing-ovation and the appearance earned him his first record deal, with Capitol Records.
Key country songwriters
| Willie Nelson|
Anybody who can write "Crazy", "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Night Life" in the space of a week has got to be an extraordinary songwriter. Frustrated with the Nashville hit machine, Nelson set about recording on his own terms with his own musicians.
Crazy, performed by Patsy Cline
Is There Something On Your Mind?, Performed by Willie Nelson
Home Is Where You're Happy, performed by Willie Nelson
| Hank Williams|
Undisputed father of country music, Hank Williams died at the age of 29, but not before writing and recording songs such as "Your Cheatin’ Heart", "Cold", "Cold Heart" and "Lovesick Blues".
Lovesick Blues, performed by Sonny James
Your Cheating Heart, performed by Hank Williams
Jambalaya, performed by Hank Williams
| Dolly Parton|
Dolly Parton's assets,as a performer, are legendary but her song-writing is often overlooked – songs like "Jolene", "Coat of Many Colours" and "I Will Always Love You", a song famously song by the very un-country Whitney Houston.
9 To 5, performed by Dolly Parton Jolene, performed by Dolly Parton
I Will Always Love You, performed by Whitney Houston
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