Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash
Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash is the sixteenth album in total by the singer-songwriter Johnny Cash, released on Columbia Records in 1963. This album collects tracks from singles and an EP released between 1959 and 1963, Cash's first years on the Columbia label, marked the first release of these tracks in LP format, with the exception of "I Still Miss Someone," which had appeared on the 1958 album The Fabulous Johnny Cash. "Ring of Fire", one of Cash's most famous tracks, made its first LP appearance here. Ring of Fire was the first #1 album when Billboard debuted their Country Album Chart on January 11, 1964, it was certified Gold on February 11, 1965 by the RIAA, earning him his first Gold LP. It stands as the only Columbia "greatest hits" collection to be included in the Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection box set. Johnny Cash - Vocals, Guitar Luther Perkins, Jack Clement, Norman Blake, Billy Strange, Johnny Western, Roy Nichols - Guitar Marshall Grant, Buddy Clark - Bass Buddy Harman, Morris Palmer, W. S. Holland, Irving Kluger, Michael Kazak - Drums Bill Pursell, Marvin Hughes, James Wilson - Piano Maybelle Carter - Autoharp Karl Garvin, Bill McElhiney - Trumpet Billy Latham - Banjo Bob Johnston - Lute Hubert Anderson - Vibraphone The Carter Family, The Jack Halloran Singers, The Anita Kerr Singers - background vocals Produced By: Don Law and Frank Jones Reissue Producer: Bob Irwin Digitally Remastered for CD by: Vic Anesini, Sony Music Studios, NY Cover Photo: Frank Bez Liner Notes: Joe Goldberg Album - Billboard Singles - Billboard LP Discography entry on Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash
River Deep – Mountain High
"River Deep – Mountain High" is a 1966 single performed by Tina Turner and credited to Ike & Tina Turner. Considered by producer Phil Spector to be his best work, the single was successful in Europe, peaking at number 3 in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 16 in Australia although it flopped on its original release in the United States. Spector claimed to be pleased with the response from the critics and his peers, but he withdrew from the music industry for two years, beginning his personal decline. After Eric Burdon and the Animals covered the song in 1968, the original version was re-released a year charting at 112, it has since become one of Tina Turner's signature songs, in 1999 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Written by Spector, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, "River Deep – Mountain High" was the first recording that Tina Turner did for Phil Spector's Philles Records. Spector had seen the Ike & Tina Turner Revue perform on The Big T. N. T Show, wanted to use Tina's voice with the Wrecking Crew, his "Wall of Sound" production technique.
He went to the Turner's house, struck a deal with Ike Turner to use Tina on the River Deep – Mountain High album and single. Spector offered Ike $20,000 for creative control over the sessions. At the time they were signed to Kent Records. After Mike Maitland gave them their release, they signed with Philles; the track cost a then-unheard-of $22,000, required 21 session musicians and 21 background vocalists. After several rehearsals, which frustrated Tina because Spector wouldn't allow her to improvise the lines, two sessions for the musicians to lay down a backing track, Spector got Tina in to the studio on March 7th; the following week she returned to the studio with Ike Turner. Due to Spector's perfectionism in the studio, he made Tina Turner sing the song over and over for several hours until he felt he had the perfect vocal take for the song, she recalled, "I must have sung that 500,000 times. I was drenched with sweat. I had to take my shirt off and stand there in my bra to sing."The recording of the song was dramatized for Tina Turner's biographical film, What's Love Got to Do with It.
The single stopped at number 88 on the pop charts. Though it had better fortune in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 3 in the singles charts on first release, Spector was so disillusioned that he ceased involvement in the recording industry for two years, only intermittently returned to the studio after that. Ike Turner remarked that he felt the record did not do well in America because the sound was "pop or white", while Tina Turner's voice was R&B, so that "America mixes race in it" – though the writer Michael Billig speculated that although earlier records which had mixed black singers with a white pop sound had sold well, by 1966 the black political movement was encouraging African Americans to take a pride in their own culture, "River Deep – Mountain High" was out of step with that movement. Rolling Stone was to put it at number 33 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. George Harrison praised the record. You couldn't improve on it." "River Deep – Mountain High" compared a woman's love and loyalty to that which a child feels for a doll, a puppy has for his master.
Lead vocals by Tina Turner Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich Produced by Phil Spector Arranged by Jack Nitzsche Musicians: Leon Russell, Michel Rubini, Jim Horn, Barney Kessel, Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, Carol Kaye, Frank Capp. The original Ike & Tina Turner version of the song was re-released the same year to a more receptive public, since has gained the recognition Spector wanted for the record. Numerous versions have been recorded since, including two different recordings without Spector's "Wall of Sound" production style: one on 1973's Nutbush City Limits LP and another from an undetermined year that appeared on 1991's Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner, as well as some by Tina herself without Ike, recorded in 1986, 1991 and 1993 respectively. Tina included live performances on Tina Live in Europe and Tina Live. A ten-minute version was recorded by Deep Purple for The Book of Taliesyn. An edited version was released as a single in the United States and reached number 53 in early 1969 and number 42 on the Canadian RPM charts.
It had a progressive rock sound to it, as Deep Purple had not yet adopted the hard rock sound for which they are most famous. In 1970, their post-Diana Ross era, The Supremes and the Four Tops released a version. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the single was one of several recordings that paired the two Motown groups; the Supremes/Four Tops cover, included on the 1970 LP The Magnificent 7, with its soaring vocals and string section, peaked at number 7 on the soul chart and number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971, making it the highest-charting version of the song in the United States. Their version peaked number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and number 25 on Netherlands' MegaCharts. Céline Dion covered the song on her 1996 album Falling Into You. At first, Phil Spector showed interest in producing the album track, but left the project so Jim Steinman took over as producer. Spector was unimpressed by Steinman's efforts. Céline Dion had performed the
Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar and accompanied with keyboards. Hard rock developed into a major form of popular music in the 1970s, with notable bands such as AC/DC, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Aerosmith and Van Halen. During the 1980s, some hard rock bands moved away from their hard rock roots and more towards pop rock, while others began to return to a hard rock sound. Established bands made a comeback in the mid-1980s and it reached a commercial peak in the 1980s, with glam metal bands like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and the rawer sounds of Guns N' Roses, which followed up with great success in the part of that decade. Hard rock began losing popularity with the commercial success of R&B, hip-hop, urban pop and Britpop in the 1990s. Despite this, many post-grunge bands adopted a hard rock sound and in the 2000s there came a renewed interest in established bands, attempts at a revival, new hard rock bands that emerged from the garage rock and post-punk revival scenes.
Out of this movement came garage rock bands like the White Stripes, the Strokes, Interpol and on, the Black Keys. In the 2000s, only a few hard rock bands from the 1970s and 1980s managed to sustain successful recording careers. Hard rock is a form of aggressive rock music; the electric guitar is emphasised, used with distortion and other effects, both as a rhythm instrument using repetitive riffs with a varying degree of complexity, as a solo lead instrument. Drumming characteristically focuses on driving rhythms, strong bass drum and a backbeat on snare, sometimes using cymbals for emphasis; the bass guitar works in conjunction with the drums playing riffs, but providing a backing for the rhythm and lead guitars. Vocals are growling, raspy, or involve screaming or wailing, sometimes in a high range, or falsetto voice. Hard rock has sometimes been labelled cock rock for its emphasis on overt masculinity and sexuality and because it has been predominantly performed and consumed by men: in the case of its audience white, working-class adolescents.
In the late 1960s, the term heavy metal was used interchangeably with hard rock, but began to be used to describe music played with more volume and intensity. While hard rock maintained a bluesy rock and roll identity, including some swing in the back beat and riffs that tended to outline chord progressions in their hooks, heavy metal's riffs functioned as stand-alone melodies and had no swing in them. Heavy metal took on "darker" characteristics after Black Sabbath's breakthrough at the beginning of the 1970s. In the 1980s it developed a number of subgenres termed extreme metal, some of which were influenced by hardcore punk, which further differentiated the two styles. Despite this differentiation, hard rock and heavy metal have existed side by side, with bands standing on the boundary of, or crossing between, the genres; the roots of hard rock can be traced back to the 1950s electric blues, which laid the foundations for key elements such as a rough declamatory vocal style, heavy guitar riffs, string-bending blues-scale guitar solos, strong beat, thick riff-laden texture, posturing performances.
Electric blues guitarists began experimenting with hard rock elements such as driving rhythms, distorted guitar solos and power chords in the 1950s, evident in the work of Memphis blues guitarists such as Joe Hill Louis, Willie Johnson, Pat Hare, who captured a "grittier, more ferocious electric guitar sound" on records such as James Cotton's "Cotton Crop Blues". Other antecedents include Link Wray's instrumental "Rumble" in 1958, the surf rock instrumentals of Dick Dale, such as "Let's Go Trippin'" and "Misirlou". In the 1960s, American and British blues and rock bands began to modify rock and roll by adding harder sounds, heavier guitar riffs, bombastic drumming, louder vocals, from electric blues. Early forms of hard rock can be heard in the work of Chicago blues musicians Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, the Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" which made it a garage rock standard, the songs of rhythm and blues influenced British Invasion acts, including "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks, "My Generation" by the Who, "Shapes of Things" by the Yardbirds, "Inside Looking Out" by the Animals, " Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones.
From the late 1960s, it became common to divide mainstream rock music that emerged from psychedelia into soft and hard rock. Soft rock was derived from folk rock, using acoustic instruments and putting more emphasis on melody and harmonies. In contrast, hard rock was most derived from blues rock and was played louder and with more intensity. Blues rock acts that pioneered the sound included Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Jeff Beck Group. Cream, in songs like "I Feel Free" combined blues rock with pop and psychedelia in the riffs and guitar solos of Eric Clapton. Jimi Hendrix produced a form of blues-influenced psychedelic rock, which combined elements of jazz and rock and roll. From 1967 Jeff Beck brought lead guitar to new heights of technical virtuosity and moved blues rock in the direction of heavy rock with his band, the Jeff Beck Group. Dave Davies of the Kinks, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend of the Who, Hendrix and Beck all pioneered the use of new guitar effects like phasing and distortion.
The Beatles began producing songs in the new
Speed metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1970s from new wave of British heavy metal roots. It is described by AllMusic as "extremely fast and technically demanding" music."It is considered less abrasive and more melodic than thrash metal, showing less influence from hardcore punk. However, speed metal is faster and more aggressive than traditional heavy metal showing more inclination to virtuoso soloing and featuring short instrumental passages between couplets. Speed metal songs make use of expressive vocals, but are less to employ'harsh' vocals than thrash metal songs." One of the key influences on the development of speed metal was the new wave of British heavy metal, or NWOBHM. This was a heavy metal movement that started in the late 1970s, in Britain, achieved international attention by the early 1980s. NWOBHM bands toned down the blues influences of earlier acts, incorporated elements of punk, increased the tempo, adopted a "tougher" sound, taking a harder approach to its music.
It was an era directed exclusively at heavy metal fans and is considered to be a major foundation stone for the extreme metal genres. The NWOBHM came to dominate the heavy metal scene of the early-mid-1980s, it was musically characterized by fast upbeat tempo songs, power chords, fast guitar solos and melodic, soaring vocals. Groups such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Venom and Motörhead as well as many lesser-known ones, became part of the canon that influenced American bands that formed in the early eighties. Motörhead is credited as the first band to play speed metal; some of speed metal's earlier influences include Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave", Budgie's "Breadfan" and Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy", as well as certain Deep Purple songs such as "Speed King", "Fireball" and "Highway Star". The latter was called "early speed metal" by Robb Reiner of speed metal band Anvil; the origin song for the genre was aptly named "Speed King" by Deep Purple. Recording on the song started in 1969 making it nearly a full decade ahead of the musical style being recognized.
The song is not only fast and technical but was extremely loud creating noticeable distortion in the recording process. The title song for the bands next album, "Fireball", is a further refinement of the band's influence with drummer Ian Paice's use of the double bass; the way the double bass is played in "Fireball" - up tempo "four on the floor" - becomes a mainstay in many Heavy and Thrash Metal songs in the years to come. This is the only Deep Purple song that employs the double bass and video from the band shows them bring out the second bass as needed to play the song. While speedy, technical playing did not dominate Deep Purple's music, they were the inventors of rock, fast and loud; those characteristics would become the hallmarks of Speed Metal. Given the name of the origin song - Speed King - they probably played a role in the genre's naming. At the least they acknowledged what they were doing, a radical departure from all prior rock music. Black Sabbath are a British heavy metal band from Birmingham and are cited as one of the grandfathers of the genre.
Though known for playing a slow, sludgy tempo, "After Forever" is a up-tempo song with a much faster pace than other songs in their catalogue. Still in certain other songs such as "Electric Funeral", "Into the Void" and "Under the Sun" there is a section in the middle of the song that shifts away from the core music and plays a much faster pace than in the rest of the song returns to the original melody. There are those who believe that their song "Symptom of the Universe" from their 1975 release Sabotage album is the first true example of a speed metal song. Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band formed in Birmingham, England, they played faster than most rock groups of the time and brought a more "metallic" sound to the guitars. Some songs, such as 1978's "Exciter", were groundbreaking for their sheer speed. Exciter is a Canadian speed metal band from Ottawa, formed in 1978, they are considered to be one of the first speed metal bands and a seminal influence of the thrash metal genre. Anvil are another Canadian speed metal band, from Toronto, who formed in 1978.
To date, the band has released sixteen studio albums, has been cited as having influenced many notable thrash metal groups, including Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth. Annihilator is a Canadian speed/thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist and bassist Jeff Waters, they are the highest selling heavy metal group in Canadian history, having sold 2 million records worldwide. Accept is a German heavy metal band which played an important role in the development of speed and thrash metal, being part of the German heavy metal scene, which emerged in the early to mid-1980s. Of particular importance was their 1982 track "Fast as a Shark". Speed metal evolved into thrash metal. Although many tend to equate the two subgenres, others argue that there is a distinct difference between them. In his book Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal, Ian Christe states that "...thrash metal relies more on long, wrenching rhythmic breaks, while speed metal... is a cleaner and more musically intricate subcategory, still loyal to the dueling melodies of classic metal."
However, on the next page, Christe calls speed metal a "subs
June Carter Cash
June Carter Cash was a five time Grammy award winning American singer, actress, dancer and author, a member of the Carter Family and the second wife of singer Johnny Cash. Prior to her marriage to Cash, she was professionally known as June Carter and was still credited as such after her marriage, she played guitar, banjo and autoharp, acted in several films and television shows. Carter Cash won five Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2009, she was ranked number 31 in CMT's 40 Greatest Women in Country Music in 2003. June Carter Cash was born Valerie June Carter in Maces Spring, Virginia, to Maybelle Carter and Ezra Carter, she was born into country music and performed with the Carter Family from the age of 10, beginning in 1939. In March 1943, when the Carter Family trio stopped recording together at the end of the WBT contract, Maybelle Carter, with encouragement from her husband Ezra, formed "Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters" with her daughters, Helen and June.
The new group first aired on radio station WRNL in Richmond, Virginia, on June 1. Doc and Carl —Maybelle's brother and cousin known as "The Virginia Boys", joined them in late 1945. June 16, was a co-announcer with Ken Allyn and did the commercials on the radio shows for "Red Star Flour", "Martha White", "Thalhimers Department Store", just to name a few. For the next year, the Carters and Doc and Carl did show dates within driving range of Richmond, through Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. June said she had to work harder at her music than her sisters, but she had her own special talent—comedy. A highlight of the road shows was her "Aunt Polly" comedy routine. Carl McConnell wrote in his memoirs that June was "a natural-born clown, if there was one." She attended John Marshall High School during this period. After Doc and Carl dropped out of the music business in late 1946, Maybelle and her daughters moved to Sunshine Sue Workman's "Old Dominion Barn Dance" on the WRVA Richmond station. After a while there, they moved to WNOX in Knoxville, where they met Chet Atkins with Homer and Jethro.
In 1949, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, with their lead guitarist, were living in Springfield and performing at KWTO. Ezra "Eck" Carter, Maybelle's husband and manager of the group, declined numerous offers from the Grand Ole Opry to move the act to Nashville, because the Opry would not permit Atkins to accompany the group onstage. Atkins' reputation as a guitar player had begun to spread, studio musicians were fearful that he would displace them as a'first-call' player if he came to Nashville. In 1950, Opry management relented and the group, along with Atkins, became part of the Opry company. Here the family befriended Hank Williams and Elvis Presley, June met Johnny Cash. June and her sisters, with mother Maybelle and aunt Sara joining in from time to time, reclaimed the name "The Carter Family" for their act during the 1960s and'70s. With her thin and lanky frame, June Carter played a comedic foil during the group's performances alongside other Opry stars Faron Young and Webb Pierce.
While June Carter Cash may be best known for singing and songwriting, she was an author, actress, comedian and humanitarian. Director Elia Kazan saw her perform at the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and encouraged her to study acting, she studied with Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York. Her acting roles included Mrs. "Momma" Dewey in Robert Duvall's 1998 movie The Apostle, Sister Ruth, wife to Johnny Cash's character Kid Cole, on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Clarise on Gunsmoke in 1957. June was Momma James in The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James; as a singer, she had both a solo career and a career singing with first her family and her husband. As a solo artist, she became somewhat successful with upbeat country tunes of the 1950s such as "Jukebox Blues" and, with her exaggerated breaths, the comedic hit "No Swallerin' Place" by Frank Loesser. June recorded "The Heel" in the 1960s along with many other songs. In the early 1960s, June Carter wrote the song "Ring of Fire", which went on to be a hit for her future husband, Johnny Cash.
She co-wrote the song with fellow songwriter Merle Kilgore. June wrote the lyrics about her relationship with Johnny Cash and she offered the song to her sister Anita. Anita Carter was the first singer to record the song. In 1963, Johnny recorded the song with the Carter Family singing backup, added mariachi horns; the song became a number-one hit and went on to become one of the most recognizable songs in the world of country music. Her first notable studio performance with Johnny Cash occurred in 1964 when she duetted with Cash on "It Ain't Me Babe", a Bob Dylan composition, released as a single and on Cash's album Orange Blossom Special. In 1967, the two found more substantial success with their recording of "Jackson", followed by a collaboration album, Carryin' On with Johnny Cash and June Carter. All these releases antedated her marriage to Cash, she continued to work with Cash on record and on stage for the rest of her life, recording a number of duets with Cash for his various albums and being a regular on The Johnny Cash Show from 1969-1971 and on Cash's annual Christmas specials.
After Carryin' On, June Carter Cash recor
Psychedelic rock is a diverse style of rock music inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, centred around perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, the label is applied spuriously. Originating in the mid-1960s among British and American musicians, the sounds of psychedelic rock invokes three core effects of LSD: depersonalization and dynamization. Musically, the effects may be represented via novelty studio tricks, electronic or non-Western instrumentation, disjunctive song structures, extended instrumental segments; some of the earlier 1960s psychedelic rock musicians were based in folk and the blues, while others showcased an explicit Indian classical influence called "raga rock". In the 1960s, there existed two main variants of the genre: the whimsical British pop-psychedelia and the harder American West Coast acid rock.
While "acid rock" is sometimes deployed interchangeably with the term "psychedelic rock", it refers more to the heavier and more extreme ends of the genre. The peak years of psychedelic rock were between 1966 and 1969, with milestone events including the 1967 Summer of Love and the 1969 Woodstock Rock Festival, becoming an international musical movement associated with a widespread counterculture before beginning a decline as changing attitudes, the loss of some key individuals and a back-to-basics movement, led surviving performers to move into new musical areas; the genre bridged the transition from early blues and folk-based rock to progressive rock and hard rock, as a result contributed to the development of sub-genres such as heavy metal. Since the late 1970s it has been revived in various forms of neo-psychedelia; as a musical style, psychedelic rock attempted to replicate the effects of and enhance the mind-altering experiences of hallucinogenic drugs, incorporating new electronic sound effects and recording effects, extended solos, improvisation.
Common features include: electric guitars used with feedback, wah wah and fuzzbox effects units. The term "psychedelic" was coined in 1956 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond first as an alternative descriptor for hallucinogenic drugs in the context of psychedelic psychotherapy; as the countercultural scene developed in San Francisco, the terms acid rock and psychedelic rock were used in 1966 to describe the new drug-influenced music and were being used by 1967. The terms psychedelic rock and acid rock are used interchangeably, but acid rock may be distinguished as a more extreme variation, heavier, relied on long jams, focused more directly on LSD, made greater use of distortion. In the popular music of the early 1960s, it was common for producers and engineers to experiment with musical form, unnatural reverb, other sound effects; some of the best known examples are Phil Spector's Wall of Sound production formula and Joe Meek's use of homemade electronics for acts like the Tornados. XTC's Andy Partridge interprets the music of psychedelic groups as a "grown-up" version of children's novelty records, believing that many acts were trying to emulate those records that they grew up with.
There was no transition to be made. You go from things like'Flying Purple People Eater' to'I Am the Walrus', they go hand-in-hand." Music critic Richie Unterberger says that attempts to "pin down" the first psychedelic record are therefore "nearly as elusive as trying to name the first rock & roll record". Some of the "far-fetched claims" include the instrumental "Telstar" and the Dave Clark Five's "massively reverb-laden" "Any Way You Want It"; the first mention of LSD on a rock record was the Gamblers' 1960 surf instrumental "LSD 25". A 1962 single by The Ventures, "The 2000 Pound Bee", issued forth the buzz of a distorted, "fuzztone" guitar, the quest into "the possibilities of heavy, transistorised distortion" and other effects, like improved reverb and echo began in earnest on London's fertile rock'n' roll scene. By 1964 fuzztone could be heard on singles by P. J. Proby, the Beatles had employed feedback in "I Feel Fine", their 6th consecutive No. 1 hit in the UK. American folk singer Bob Dylan was a massive influence on mid 1960s rock music.
He led directly to the creation of folk rock and the psychedelic rock musicians that followed, his lyrics were a touchstone for the psychedelic songwriters of the late 1960s. Virtuoso sitarist Ravi Shankar had begun in 1956 a mission to bring Indian classical music to the West, inspiring jazz and folk musicians.
Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk blues. Country music consists of ballads and dance tunes with simple forms, folk lyrics, harmonies accompanied by string instruments such as banjos and acoustic guitars, steel guitars, fiddles as well as harmonicas. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history. According to Lindsey Starnes, the term country music gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to the earlier term hillbilly music. In 2009 in the United States, country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, second most popular in the morning commute; the term country music is used today to describe many subgenres. The origins of country music are found in the folk music of working class Americans, who blended popular songs and Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional English ballads, cowboy songs, the musical traditions of various groups of European immigrants.
Immigrants to the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America brought the music and instruments of Europe along with them for nearly 300 years. Country music was "introduced to the world as a Southern phenomenon." The U. S. Congress has formally recognized Bristol, Tennessee as the "Birthplace of Country Music", based on the historic Bristol recording sessions of 1927. Since 2014, the city has been home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Historians have noted the influence of the less-known Johnson City sessions of 1928 and 1929, the Knoxville sessions of 1929 and 1930. In addition, the Mountain City Fiddlers Convention, held in 1925, helped to inspire modern country music. Before these, pioneer settlers, in the Great Smoky Mountains region, had developed a rich musical heritage; the first generation emerged in the early 1920s, with Atlanta's music scene playing a major role in launching country's earliest recording artists. New York City record label Okeh Records began issuing hillbilly music records by Fiddlin' John Carson as early as 1923, followed by Columbia Records in 1924, RCA Victor Records in 1927 with the first famous pioneers of the genre Jimmie Rodgers and the first family of country music The Carter Family.
Many "hillbilly" musicians, such as Cliff Carlisle, recorded blues songs throughout the 1920s. During the second generation, radio became a popular source of entertainment, "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, as far west as California; the most important was the Grand Ole Opry, aired starting in 1925 by WSM in Nashville and continuing to the present day. During the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music, recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood. Bob Wills was another country musician from the Lower Great Plains who had become popular as the leader of a "hot string band," and who appeared in Hollywood westerns, his mix of country and jazz, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as Western swing. Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an electric guitar to his band, in 1938. Country musicians began recording boogie in 1939, shortly after it had been played at Carnegie Hall, when Johnny Barfield recorded "Boogie Woogie".
The third generation started at the end of World War II with "mountaineer" string band music known as bluegrass, which emerged when Bill Monroe, along with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were introduced by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. Gospel music remained a popular component of country music. Another type of stripped-down and raw music with a variety of moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, dobro or steel guitar became popular among poor whites in Texas and Oklahoma, it became known as honky tonk, had its roots in Western swing and the ranchera music of Mexico and the border states. By the early 1950s a blend of Western swing, country boogie, honky tonk was played by most country bands. Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s, 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music, with Johnny Cash emerging as one of the most popular and enduring representatives of the rockabilly genre. Beginning in the mid-1950s, reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the Nashville sound turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered in Nashville, Tennessee.
The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the British Invasion, many desired a return to the "old values" of rock n' roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as country rock. Fourth generation music included outlaw country with roots in the Bakersfield sound, country pop with roots in the countrypolitan, folk music and soft rock. Between 1972 and 1975 singer/guitarist John Denver released a se