Join us on our social media channels every Monday as we explore the life and careers of the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. #MemberMonday
Known as country music's "Gentle Giant" for his warm baritone and laid-back ways, Don Williams was a major country hit-maker and international ambassador. He scored at least one major hit every year between 1974 and 1991.
Don Williams learned guitar from his mother and performed in various country, folk, and rock & roll bands as a teenager. He first found success in the 1960s as a member of folk-pop trio the Pozo-Seco Singers. The group had six pop chart-making records during 1966-67.
After the Pozo-Seco Singers broke up, Don Williams found an ally in Jack Clement and was signed to Jack Music publishing company as a writer. When other artists didn't record Don's songs, he recorded them himself. 1972’s Volume One, his first album, contained several chart singles.
In 1978, Don Williams was named CMA Male Vocalist of the Year and his recording of "Tulsa Time" was ACM Single of the Year.
Onstage, Don Williams steadily built a large and loyal following. In addition to his domestic audience, he won fans worldwide, selling records in the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, and Australia.
READ MORE ABOUT
Loretta Lynn's singing around the house led to her husband Mooney to buy her a guitar so she could play as she sang. He later helped her get engagements by bragging that his wife could sing better than anyone, other than Kitty Wells, and soon Loretta was singing with a local band. She eventually formed a band of her own a few months later.
Loretta Lynn's singing came to the attention of Zero Records, who signed her to a contract in February 1960 and sent her to Los Angeles to record four songs. She and Mooney stayed until the records were pressed and then mailed them out to country music radio stations. They then drove cross-country, stopping at stations along the way to promote her recording of “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.”
Instead of using traditional country music themes, Loretta Lynn wrote songs that were more realistic and less compromising. The country girl from the hills of Kentucky spoke more boldly and forcefully than many would have expected but with such humor that she did not alienate any of her fans.
On Oct. 16, 1972, Loretta Lynn became the first woman to win Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards. Here she is pictured with host Glen Campbell and other winners from the night: Charley Pride, Freddie Hart, Charlie McCoy, Jimmie H. Davis, Donna Fargo, Conway Twitty, Danny Davis, and Don Reid of the Statler Brothers.
In 1988, Loretta Lynn was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The honor pays tribute to her career, the influence she has had on many of the women in country music and the loyal fans that continue to embrace her for her music and endearing personality.