Prior to 1920 in country music

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See also: 1920 in country music and the List of years in country music

Events[edit]

1900[edit]

  • April 23 – The word hillbillie is printed for the first time in the New York Journal.[citation needed]

No dates[edit]

  • Several train crashes, all occurring between 1890 and 1903, occur throughout the country, inspiring several early country music recordings. These include the wreck of the C&O in 1890 ("Engine 143" by the Carter Family), train 382 near Vaughn, Mississippi (which inspired "Casey Jones") and train 97 near Danville, Georgia (bearing "Wreck of the Old 97"). The resulting themes are tales of tragedy, bravery and triumph.
  • "Rube" comedy and long country dialect tales, such as the "Uncle Josh" series of songs from Cal Stewart, become popular in the first decade of the 1900s and first part of the 1910s.

Notable recordings of the pre-1920s era[edit]

1917[edit]

1919[edit]

Births[edit]

1848[edit]

1868[edit]

1870[edit]

  • October 7 – Uncle Dave Macon, "The Dixie Dewdrop" and country music pioneer who combined banjo playing, singing and comic talents to be one of the Grand Ole Opry's first stars (d. 1952)

1883[edit]

  • April 6 – Vernon Dalhart, early 1900s singer whose "The Prisoner's Song" became country music's first million-selling single in 1925. (d. 1948)

1885[edit]

1887[edit]

  • November 20 – A.C. "Eck" Robertson, fiddle player whose "Sally Gooden" became the first recording in the country music genre. (d. 1975)

1889[edit]

  • October 19 – Arthur E. Satherley, pioneering music executive (d. 1986).

1891[edit]

1892[edit]

  • March 22 – Charlie Poole, singer, banjo player and leader of the "North Carolina Ramblers". (d. 1931).
  • April 6 – Henry Whitter, singer and one of the first recorded country musicians. (d. 1941)
  • May 8 – Jimmie Tarlton, singer, steel guitar player and partner of Tom Darby (as Darby and Tarlton). (d. 1979).
  • May 22 – Ralph Peer, talent scout and pioneering recording executive and producer (d. 1960).

1893[edit]

1894[edit]

1895[edit]

1896[edit]

  • August 23 – Wendell Hall, "The Red Headed Music Maker", early country music singer. (d. 1969).

1897[edit]

  • March 20 – Frank Hutchison, early country blues singer and slide guitar player. (d. 1945).
  • September 8 – Jimmie Rodgers, "The Singing Brakeman", "America's Blue Yodeler", legendary country singer famous for his "Blue Yodels." (d. 1933).

1898[edit]

1899[edit]

1900[edit]

1901[edit]

1902[edit]

1903[edit]

1905[edit]

1907[edit]

1908[edit]

1909[edit]

1910[edit]

  • June 17 – Red Foley, guitarist and songwriter, one of country music's top stars of the 1940s and 1950s (d. 1968).
  • August 22 – Rod Brasfield, comedian and star of the Grand Ole Opry (d. 1958).

1911[edit]

1912[edit]

  • May 17 – Grant Turner, announcer of the Grand Ole Opry (d. 1991).
  • October 25 – Minnie Pearl, comedian and star of the Grand Ole Opry and television's Hee Haw (d. 1996).
  • December 8 – Jack Stapp, influential country music manager (d. 1980).

1913[edit]

  • October 20 – Grandpa Jones, "old-time" country singer, banjo player and comedian, star of television's Hee Haw (d. 1998).

1914[edit]

1915[edit]

  • June 1 – Johnny Bond, singer of the 1940s through 1960s, best known for his novelty songs about drunkenness (d. 1978)
  • June 9 – Les Paul, one of the most important persons in the development of modern electric instruments (the electric guitar) and recording techniques (multitrack recording), which came into extensive use in country music starting in the 1950s. (d. 2009)
  • July 16 – Speck Rhodes, comedian and musician best known for his work on The Porter Wagoner Show (d. 2000)
  • October 21 – Owen Bradley, influential record producer of the 1940s through 1970s, primarily at Decca Records (d. 1998)

1916[edit]

1917[edit]

  • January 29 – Lloyd Perryman, member of the Sons of the Pioneers (d. 1977).
  • March 1 – Cliffie Stone, record producer and publisher who was pivotal in the development of California’s thriving country music scene (d. 1998).
  • November 29 – Merle Travis, singer-songwriter of the 1940s. (d. 1983).

1918[edit]

  • February 11 – Wesley Rose, music publisher and executive of Acuff-Rose Music (d. 1990).
  • May 15 – Eddy Arnold, the "Tennessee Plowboy"; a pioneer in crossover music, his recording career spanned from the 1940s through 1990s. (d. 2008)
  • July 20 – Cindy Walker, songwriter whose hits spanned the 1940s through 1980s (d. 2006).
  • October 16 – Stoney Cooper, bluegrass and gospel singer who best known for his series of recordings with wife, Wilma Lee (as Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper), from the 1940s through early 1960s. (d. 1977)

1919[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kingsbury, Paul, "Vinyl Hayride: Country Music Album Covers 1947–1989," Country Music Foundation, 2003 (ISBN 0-8118-3572-3)
  • Millard, Bob, "Country Music: 70 Years of America's Favorite Music," HarperCollins, New York, 1993 (ISBN 0-06-273244-7)
  • Whitburn, Joel. "Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954: The History of American Popular Music," Record Research Inc., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, 1986 (ISBN 0-89820-083-0).