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Chet Atkins

Biography

Without Chet Atkins, country music might do not have crossed over in to the pop charts within the ’50s and ’60s. Although he documented hundreds of single information, Atkins’ largest impact came being a program musician and an archive producer. Through the ’50s and ’60s, he helped create the Nashville audio, a method of nation music that owed almost just as much to pop since it do to honky tonks. So when a guitarist, he was without parallel. Atkins’ design grew away from his admiration for Merle Travis, growing Travis’ personal syncopated thumb and fingertips roll into brand-new territory. Oddly enough, Atkins didn’t start his musical profession by playing electric guitar. On the suggestion of his old sibling, Lowell, he started playing the fiddle at a kid. Nevertheless, Chet was still drawn to the guitar, with age nine he exchanged a pistol to get a guitar. Atkins discovered his instrument quickly, becoming an achieved participant by enough time he still left senior high school in 1941. Utilizing a variety of connections, he finished up performing in the Costs Carlisle Present on WNOX in Knoxville, TN, in addition to becoming area of the Dixie Swingers. Atkins caused Homer & Jethro while he was at the air place. After 3 years, he shifted to a radio place in Cincinnati. Helping Crimson Foley, Atkins produced his initial appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. That same season, he produced his first information, documenting for Bullet. Atkins also started producing regular performances in the WRVA radio place in Richmond, VA, but he was frequently terminated because his musical plans differed from your expectations from the station’s professionals. He eventually relocated to Springfield, MO, doing work for the KWTO train station. A tape of 1 of Atkins’ shows was delivered to RCA Victor’s workplace in Chicago. Ultimately, it worked well its method to Steve Sholes, the top of nation music at RCA. Sholes experienced noticed Atkins previously, and have been looking for him for quite some time. By enough time Sholes noticed the tape, Atkins experienced relocated to Denver, and was using Shorty Thompson & His Rangers. Upon getting the decision from RCA, he relocated to Nashville to record. Once he found its way to Nashville, Atkins documented eight songs for the label, five which presented the guitarist performing. Impressed by his playing, Sholes produced Atkins the studio room guitarist for every one of the RCA studio’s Nashville periods in 1949. The next season, Mother Maybelle as well as the Carter Sisters employed him as a normal in the Grand Ole Opry, producing his put in place Nashville’s musical community protected. While he proved helpful for RCA, he performed on many strike information and helped style the Nashville audio. RCA valued his function and produced him a expert to the business’s Nashville department in 1953. That season, the label begun to issue several instrumental albums that showcased Atkins’ significant talents. 2 yrs later, he have scored his first strike with a edition of “Mr. Sandman”; it had been accompanied by “Metallic Bell,” a duet with Hank Snow. From the past due ’50s, Atkins was known through the entire music industry like a first-rate participant. Not only do his information sell well, he designed guitars for Gibson and Gretsch; the recognition of these versions continues for this day. Sholes remaining for NY in 1957 to do something as mind of pop A&R, departing Atkins because the supervisor of RCA’s Nashville department. Nevertheless, the guitarist didn’t forego performing, and through the entire early ’60s his celebrity continued to go up. He performed the Newport Jazz Celebration in 1960; in 1961, he performed on the Light House. Atkins acquired his first Best Five strike in 1965 using a reworking of Shoes or boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax,” retitled “Yakety Axe”; not only is it a sizable nation hit, the melody crossed to the pop graphs. Atkins’ function behind the moments was thriving aswell. He produced strikes in most of RCA’s Nashville serves, including Elvis Presley and Eddy Arnold, and uncovered an abundance of skill, including Don Gibson, Waylon Jennings, Floyd Cramer, Charley Satisfaction, Bobby Bare, and Connie Smith. Due to his consistent background, Atkins was advertised to vice chief executive of RCA’s nation department when Sholes passed away in 1968. The next yr, Atkins experienced his last main hit solitary, “Nation Gentleman.” In the past due ’60s and early ’70s, many minor hits adopted, but only 1 music, “Prissy” (1968), managed to get into the Best 40. Rather, the guitarist’s main musical contribution in the first area of the ’70s was with Homer & Jethro. Beneath the name the Nashville String Music group, the trio released five albums between 1970 and 1972. Pursuing Homer’s loss of life, Atkins continued to utilize Jethro. Atkins continuing to record for RCA through the entire ’70s, although he was creatively stifled with the label by the finish of the 10 years. The guitarist wished to record a jazz record, but he was fulfilled with resistance with the label. In 1982, he still left the label and agreed upon with Columbia, launching his first record for the label, Function It Out With Chet Atkins, in 1983. During his period at Columbia, Atkins departed from his traditional nation root base, demonstrating that he was a vivid and tasteful jazz guitarist aswell. He do return to nation on occasion, especially on duet albums with Tag Knopfler and Jerry Reed, but more often than not, Atkins’ Columbia information demonstrated a far more ambitious guitarist than once was captured on his RCA albums. Unfortunately, Atkins was identified as having tumor, and in 1997 doctors eliminated a tumor from his mind. In his last weeks, the cancer got produced Atkins inactive, and he finally dropped the fight on June 30, 2001, at his house in Nashville. Throughout his profession, Chet Atkins gained numerous honours, including 11 Grammy honours and nine CMA Instrumentalist of the entire year honors, and a Life time Achievement Honor from NARAS. Although his honor list is amazing, it only starts to mention his contribution to nation music.

Quick Facts


Full Name Chet Atkins
Died June 30, 2001, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Profession Guitarist, Singer, Music Producer, Songwriter, Session musician
Nationality American
Spouse Leona Johnson
Children Merle Atkins Russell
Parents Ida Sharp, James Arley Atkins
Awards Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance, Country Music Association Award for Instrumentalist of the Year, Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, Country Music Association Award for Musician of the Year, Billboard Music Century Award, Academy of Country Music Awards Cliffie Stone Icon Award, Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance, Academy of Country Music Award for Guitar Player of the Year
Music Groups The Carter Sisters
Music Songs Yakety Sax, Mister Sandman, I'll See You in My Dreams, The Entertainer, Jerry's Breakdown, Yakety Axe, Trambone, Poor Boy Blues, Orange Blossom Special, Windy and Warm, Wildwood Flower, Autumn Leaves, Cannonball Rag, Baby's Coming Home, Snowbird, Black Mountain Rag, There'll Be Some Changes Made, I Still Can't Say Goodbye, Wheels, Music to Watch Girls Go By, Jam Man, Yankee Doodle Dixie, Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, Classical Gas, Dill Pickles Rag, Vincent, Mr. Bojangles, Jitterbug Waltz, To 'B' or Not to 'B', The Next Time I'm in Town, I Still Write Your Name in the Snow, Sleep Walk
Albums Neck and Neck, Chet Atkins Picks on Jerry Reed, Almost Alone, Christmas with Chet Atkins, Chet Atkins' Gallopin' Guitar, Hometown Guitar, Hi-Fi in Focus, Solo Sessions, Chet Atkins Picks on the Beatles, Lover's Guitar, Me & Jerry, Guitar Monsters, Simpatico, The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World, The Atkins – Travis Traveling Show, Chet Atkins Plays Back Home Hymns, Chet Atkins in Hollywood, Yestergroovin, Me & Chet, Class Guitar, Teensville, The Other Chet Atkins, Read My Licks, Chet Atkins' Workshop, Chet Atkins at Home, A Session with Chet Atkins, Guitar Country, Alone, Reflections, The Pops Goes Country, From Nashville with Love, Down Home, Street Dreams, Mister Guitar, Chet, Floyd & Boots, Chet Atkins Goes to the Movies, The Night Atlanta Burned, Jazz from the Hills, It's a Guitar World, Stringin' Along with Chet Atkins, Pickin' My Way, And Then Came Chet Atkins, World's Greatest Melodies, Play Guitar with Chet Atkins, Solid Gold 70, Christmas Guitar, Songs for Christmas, Feelings Guitar, Nashville Sound (100 Recordings Remastered), Countrypolitan Classics - Chet Atkins, New Dimensions
Nominations Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, Country Music Association Award for Album of the Year, Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year
Movies Chet Atkins: A Life in Music, A Tribute to Chet Atkins, Stroszek, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed: In Concert, Webb Pierce & Chet Atkins, Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story, Chet Atkins: Rare Performances 1955-1975, Non-Willer, Hank Williams: In the Hank Williams Tradition, Guitar Odyssey: Wired for Sound
TV Shows Jethro And Friends


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Designed electric guitars for the Gretsch Company, including the one George Harrison played the first two times The Beatles performed on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show, "The Chet Atkins Country Gentleman". That guitar, among others he designed for Gretsch, are still available today.
2 Covered the song "Sugarfoot Rag" by Hank Garland, for his album "Guitar Country" (1964)
3 Was a licensed amateur (ham) radio operator with the call sign W4CGP. His call is now owned by a young musician who is a big admirer of the late star.
4 Brother of singer/radio personality Jim Atkins.
5 Was the brother-in-law of Jethro of the country-music comedy duo Homer and Jethro.
6 Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 (under the category Side-Men).
7 Daughter, Merle (named after Merle Travis), born 1947.
8 Recorded 100+ albums.
9 Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973, at age 49.
10 Won 14 Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
11 Played guitar on many classic recordings, such as Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel", Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart", and the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie".
12 Country music guitarist and record company executive.
13 5th cousin thrice-removed of Scott Trimble.


Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Wild 2014/I writer: "How's the World Treating You"
Dolly: A Collection of Hits & Duets 2014 Video performer: "I Can't Stop Loving You"
Some Jerk with a Camera 2012 TV Series documentary performer - 1 episode
Halloween Season 2010 Short performer: "Mr. Sandman"
Country's Greatest Stars Live: Vol. 1 2010 Video performer: "Winter Walking"
Katastrofin aineksia 2008 Documentary performer: "Mr.Sandman"
Opry Video Classics: The Hall of Fame 2007 Video performer: "Yakety Axe"
American Masters 2007 TV Series documentary 1 episode
Best of Country Live! 2006 Video performer: "Poor People of Paris" La Goualante du Pauvre Jean
Surviving Christmas 2004 performer: "Jingle Bell Rock"
Cold Case 2004 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Michael 1996 arranger: "Ave Maria; Op.52, No.6" 1825 / performer: "Young Thing" 1994, "Ave Maria; Op.52, No.6" 1825, "Sweet Dreams" 1955, "Dream" 1944 / producer: "Young Thing" 1994, "Ave Maria; Op.52, No.6" 1825, "Dream" 1944 / writer: "Young Thing" 1994
Fly Away Home 1996 performer: "Yakety Axe"
Neil Diamond: Under a Tennessee Moon 1996 TV Special documentary "Blue Highway"
Grand Ole Opry 70th Anniversary 1996 TV Special performer: "Oh, Lonesome Me"
Ralph Emery on the Record 1994 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Josh and S.A.M. 1993 performer: "Hot Mocking Bird"
Dolly 1988 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Stroszek 1977 performer: "On the Way Down to Phoenix", "The Last Thing on My Mind" / writer: "On the Way Down to Phoenix"
9th Annual Country Music Association Awards 1975 TV Special performer: "Bicentennial Medley"
In Concert 1975 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Porter Wagoner Show TV Series performer - 2 episodes, 1973 - 1974 writer - 1 episode, 1973
The Partridge Family TV Series lyrics - 1 episode, 1973 music - 1 episode, 1973
The Johnny Cash Show 1970-1971 TV Series performer - 2 episodes
Mondo Trasho 1969 performer: "Oh Lonesome Me"
The Best on Record 1968 TV Special performer: "Battle Hymn Of The Republic"
The Jimmy Dean Show 1964 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Country Style, U.S.A. TV Series short writer - 1 episode, 1959 performer - 1 episode, 1959
Grand Ole Opry 1956 TV Series performer - 1 episode

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Big Dreams & Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story 1995 TV Movie Chet Atkins
Nashville 99 1977 TV Series

Composer

Composer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
About Us 2006 TV Series documentary 1 episode
Stroszek 1977

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Mark Knopfler: A Life in Songs 2011 TV Movie documentary archive - as Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Chet Atkins: A Life in Music 2000 TV Movie Himself
The Genius of Lenny Breau 1999 Documentary
In Dreams: The Roy Orbison Story 1999 TV Movie documentary Himself
Elvis: His Life and Times 1997 TV Special
George Winston: Seasons in Concert 1996 Video Himself
America's Music: The Roots of Country 1996 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself
Late Night with Conan O'Brien 1996 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Grand Ole Opry Musical Salute to Minnie Pearl 1996 TV Movie Himself
An Evening of Country Greats: A Hall of Fame Celebration 1996 TV Special Himself
The Life and Times of the Everly Brothers 1996 TV Movie documentary Himself
Neil Diamond: Under a Tennessee Moon 1996 TV Special documentary Himself - Guest Artist
Grand Ole Opry 70th Anniversary 1996 TV Special Himself
Lost in Music 1995 TV Series documentary Himself
Elvis: The Tribute 1994 TV Movie documentary Himself - Performer
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 1994 TV Series Himself
Ralph Emery on the Record 1994 TV Series Himself
The Roots of Country: Nashville Celebrates the Ryman 1994 TV Special Himself
Austin City Limits 1993 TV Series documentary Himself
Webb Pierce and Chet Atkins 1991 Video documentary Himself
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts 1991 TV Special Himself
Grand Ole Opry 65th Anniversary 1991 TV Special Himself
Guitar 1991 Video documentary Chet Atkins
An All Star Salute to Country Music 1990 TV Movie Himself
The Pat Sajak Show 1989 TV Series Himself
A Prairie Home Companion: The Second Annual Farewell Performance 1988 TV Movie Himself
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1988 TV Series Himself
Dolly 1988 TV Series Himself
Cinemax Sessions 1987 TV Series Himself
The Secret Policeman's Third Ball 1987 Documentary Himself
Presley 1987 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself
Grand Ole Opry 60th Anniversary 1986 TV Movie Himself
Elvis: Memories 1985 Video documentary
Arena 1984 TV Series documentary Himself
Country Comes Home 1982 TV Special
Roy Acuff... 50 Years the King of Country Music 1982 TV Special Himself
Nashville on the Road 1981 TV Series Himself - Guest
Today 1957-1978 TV Series Himself
50 Years of Country Music 1978 TV Movie Himself
The Val Doonican Music Show 1977 TV Series Himself
Spotlight 1977 TV Series Himself
That's Country 1977 Himself
Ann-Margret: Rhinestone Cowgirl 1977 TV Movie Himself
The 19th Annual Grammy Awards 1977 TV Special Himself
Dinah! 1974-1976 TV Series Himself
Numéro 1 1975 TV Series Himself
9th Annual Country Music Association Awards 1975 TV Special Himself - Performer
In Concert 1975 TV Series Himself
Hee Haw 1974 TV Series Himself - Guest
8th Annual Country Music Association Awards 1974 TV Special Himself - Presenter
The Porter Wagoner Show 1973-1974 TV Series Himself - Guest
Dean Martin Presents Music Country 1973 TV Series Himself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1963-1973 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guest
The Jerry Reed When You're Hot You're Hot Hour 1972 TV Series Himself
The David Frost Show 1971 TV Series Himself
The Kraft Music Hall 1968-1971 TV Series Himself
The Johnny Cash Show 1969-1971 TV Series Himself - Guitarist / Himself
Evening at Pops 1970 TV Series documentary Himself
The Ed Sullivan Show 1970 TV Series Himself - Guitarist
This Is Tom Jones 1969 TV Series documentary Himself
The Joey Bishop Show 1968 TV Series Himself
The Best on Record 1968 TV Special Himself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall 1967 TV Series Himself - Guest
Middle West Show 1965 TV Movie Himself
The Jimmy Dean Show 1964 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guitarist
Western-Songs 'Marke Nashville' 1964 TV Series Himself - Guitar player
Country Style, U.S.A. 1959 TV Series short Himself - Guitarist
Grand Ole Opry 1956 TV Series Himself - Guitarist
Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour 1954 TV Series Himself
The Eddy Arnold Show 1952 TV Series Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Dolly: A Collection of Hits & Duets 2014 Video Himself - Performer
The Winding Stream 2014 Documentary Himself
Mark Knopfler: A Life in Songs 2011 TV Movie documentary Himself - Guitar
Country's Greatest Stars Live: Vol. 1 2010 Video Himself
Crook & Chase 2009 TV Series Himself
Opry Video Classics: The Hall of Fame 2007 Video Himself
Impact: Songs That Changed the World 2007 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself
Best of Country Live! 2006 Video Himself
Grand Ole Opry's Vintage Classics 2005 TV Movie Himself
The Porter Wagoner Show: Collectors Series, Vol. 1 2001 Video Himself

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1989 ACE CableACE Awards Performance in a Music Special Cinemax Sessions (1986)


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#Quote
1 I was more interested in my guitar than the fiddle and I'd fool around practicing whenever I could. One time the radio-station boss heard me playing my guitar in the back seat of his car. He told me to throw away the fiddle for good and he'd give me a job playing guitar.
2 Once when I was on a cruise ship I was practicing on deck and drew a little crowd. When I was done, one lady told me "You're good but you're no Chet Atkins."
3 Everything I've ever done was out of fear of being mediocre.
4 [on producing records with Jim Reeves, aka "Gentleman Jim", who joined RCA in 1955 after recording several years for Abbott Records] When I first met and started working with him, he was singing too high. He was a great baritone, but he wasn't a very good tenor. I always tried to keep him down in a low key, because when he did that, he sounded wonderful to me. He knew I liked it when he sang in that low key, but occasionally he'd kid me a little and pitch it up a little too high.
5 [on the first time he heard Hank Garland] I was in Knoxville, and I heard this chorus. I don't recall the artist now, but I remember then that I thought it was the greatest guitar chorus I'd ever heard, so I checked around and found out it was Hank Garland who played it.
6 Hank Garland was very outspoken and he had a lot of ideas. He didn't take any talk from any producer. If they said something smart to him, his face would get real red and he'd say something back. But he was such a good musician that everyone had a terrible amount of respect for him, so nobody stepped on his toes. He could only help you: he was so good, he could never hurt you.
7 I realized that what I liked, the public would like, too, 'cause I'm kind of square.
8 Years from now, after I'm gone, someone will listen to what I've done and know I was here. They may not know or care who I was, but they'll hear my guitars speaking for me.


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