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


          



Minnie Pearl was an Opry comedian character created and portrayed by Sarah Ophelia Colley, from Centerville, Tennessee. In the fall of 1940, an opportunity to perform at a banker’s convention in Centerville brought her to the attention of executives at radio station WSM in Nashville. On November 30, 1940, she made her Grand Ole Opry debut. Less than a week later, more than 300 cards, telegrams, and letters addressed to Minnie Pearl flooded the offices of WSM showing she stole the hearts and brought laughter to Opry lovers. Minnie Pearl was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1971.  Minnie had a half-dozen albums and about twice as many singles scattered among the Bullet, King, RCA, Everest, and Starday labels. When she did sing, she exaggerated the flaws in her voice. Her big hit was called “Giddyup Go—Answer". Minnie was more commonly known for being the queen of country music. 


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MINNIE PEARL


Guess Who? Any guesses for who our featured Member Monday is? 1) Performed some of the hand claps on Buddy Holly’s tune “You’re the One.” 2) An Outlaw legend 3) He was The Balladeer on the television show, Dukes of Hazzard.

If you guessed Waylon Jennings, you were correct!

Waylon was an Outlaw Movement legend and a trailblazer for country music artists. Waylon’s big break came when he was tapped by Buddy Holly to play bass in Holly’s new band on a tour through the Midwest in late 1958 and early 1959. Jennings had several hit albums including compilation album with artists such as Willie Nelson and his wife, Jessi Colter.
Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter married in October of 1969. The pair worked on many projects together including the album Wanted! The Outlaws with Willie Nelson and Tompall Glaser. Kris Kristofferson once described Jennings and Colter’s relationship as “a beautiful love affair.

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WAYLON JENNINGS.


Dubbed “The Storyteller” by Country Music Hall of Fame member Tex Ritter, Tom T. Hall wrote songs distinguished by their narrative quality, their rich detail, and their keen insight into the beauty of everyday life.
Tom T. Hall showed interest in music at an early age. He wrote his first song, “Haven’t I Been Good to You,” at nine, and he benefited greatly from the tutelage of local musician Clayton Delaney.
As his singing career got underway, Tom T. Hall continued to provide hit songs for other artists, chief among them “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” for Jeannie C. Riley earning Riley a CMA Award for Single of the Year.

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TOM T. HALL.


​Country Music Hall of Fame member, Don Gibson was responsible for not only helping define the sound and studio style of modern country music but also for releasing more than eighty charted records between 1956 and 1980.

The first masterpiece written by Don Gibson, “Sweet Dreams,” won him a songwriter’s contract with Acuff-Rose Publications and a recording deal with MGM. It was later a hit for Gibson, Faron Young, and Patsy Cline. ​

In 1957, Don Gibson wrote two of his career songs on the same day: “Oh Lonesome Me” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The latter would eventually be recorded more than 700 times by singers in many music genres and sell more than 30 million records worldwide. ​

​In 1957, while recording “Oh Lonesome Me” for RCA, Don Gibson and producer Chet Atkins set one of the first examples of what would be called the Nashville Sound. By abandoning the traditional steel guitar and fiddle for using only guitars, a piano, a drummer, upright bass, and background singers, Gibson had a #1 hit that also set the pattern for a long series of other RCA hits.

​Don Gibson was honored with induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and was election to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.


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DON GIBSON.


Jim Denny, long-time manager of the Grand Ole Opry Artists Service, had a charismatic personality and devotion to his acts and songs which earned him respect and devotion from artists, writers, and others with whom he did business. ​

​In 1953, Jim Denny formed Cedarwood Publishing Company with his staff of writers churning out hit after hit over the next decade, including “Detroit City,” “Tobacco Road,” and others.

In what was then called the largest individual package sale in country music history, Jim Denny signed an agreement with Philip Morris Tobacco Company to provide the talent for the Philip Morris Country Music Show helping boost the popularity of country music across America.​

The Denny Artist Bureau booked most of the top country acts of the day, booking nearly 4,000 country shows annually by 1963, making Jim Denny one of the most successful talent agents and song publishers in country music history.​


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JIM DENNY.


​Gene Autry was unquestionably the best-selling country & western artist from the early days of the Depression through the close of World War II. His status as a top box-office attraction in motion pictures brought his music to the attention of a vast audience otherwise unfamiliar with country music.

Stardom first came to Gene Autry with a recording of “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine”. The song became a major hit and propelled Autry to a radio career on Chicago’s WLS, beginning with his first morning broadcast on December 1, 1931, on his own show Conqueror Record Time.​

Gene Autry’s screen presence, as gentle and reassuring as his singing style, offered comfort and inspiration to a Depression-weary audience. Charismatic and handsome astride his horse, Champion, Autry filled his movies with humor, music, and a minimum of gunplay.​

Gene Autry joined the Army Air Corps voluntarily on July 26, 1942, during a Melody Ranch broadcast and served as a transport plane pilot in the Pacific Theater for three years. ​

Fulfilling a lifelong fantasy, Gene Autry became owner of the Los Angeles (now Anaheim) Angels baseball team in December 1960.​


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GENE AUTRY.