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Tennessee Ernie Ford

Biography

The booming baritone voice of Tennessee Ernie Ford was most widely known for his 1955 cover of Merle Travis’ grim coal-mining song “Sixteen Tons,” watered straight down from the dulcet strains of the Hollywood studio orchestra but retaining its innate seriousness because of the sheer power of Ford’s singing. But there is even more to Tennessee Ernie Ford than that. More than his long profession, Ford sang from proto-rock & move to gospel, documented over 100 albums, and gained many honors and honours, like the Presidential Medal of Independence, the country’s highest civilian prize. His reputation and reputation transcended nation music, and he was among the initial and most effective “crossover” performers to emerge from nation music, paving just how for such different popular culture statistics as Johnny Money, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Reba McEntire, and so many more. Delivered Ernest Jennings Ford in 1919, he was a indigenous of Bristol, TN, a city that subsequently had become regarded — because of the Ralph Peer field documenting sessions (offering Jimmie Rodgers as well as the Carter Family members) carried out there in 1927 — among the birthplaces of contemporary nation music. He began singing like a young man and, after graduating from senior high school, became a tone of voice college student at Virginia Intermount University. The second option was officially a women’s university but admitted a restricted amount of male college students to its daytime research program, and it had been by using one of is own educators and her spouse that Ford, along with his deep and resonant tone of voice, broke into radio, as an announcer on WOPI in northeast Tennessee. By 1939, he’d relocated to Cincinnati, OH, and was their studies at that city’s Conservatory of Music. He relocated around the united states in the entire year before America’s access into World Battle II, keeping announcer careers in Atlanta, Georgia, and Knoxville, TN. Pursuing America’s entrance into World Battle II using the strike on Pearl Harbor, Ford enlisted in america Military in early 1942 and was designated towards the U.S. Military Surroundings Corps, which held him stateside, portion in Alabama and afterwards in California, where he was submitted to some bomberdier college. His skill wasn’t dormant during this time period, and he could participate in several special providers entertainment programs. Following the battle, Ford — who acquired married while portion in the armed service — relocated his family members to San Bernardino, CA, and required a DJ work on an area radio station. It had been there that he 1st took around the name “Tennessee Ernie,” which became the concentrate of his comedic on-air persona, some sort of good-hearted bumpkin who was simply smarter than he allow on and funnier (and much more eccentric) than he apparently knew; in a few respects, “Tennessee Ernie” was a little bit like a number of the even more benign rural character types that were essayed in the films by Walter Brennan. The truth is, Ford had incredible versatility and range, a lot in order that some companies and potential companies in radio had been astonished to discover that they were sketching on the providers of a massive selection of “heroes” and personas — he could speak and sing in an impressive, full-bodied baritone that could have already been the envy of several an operatic vocalist, but he previously a range of twangy, Southern- (and distinctly rustic Southern) inflected voices that he utilized, along with capture phrases that quickly got found by his hearing target audience, in Pasadena and LA. He was nearly a one-man radio network and ensemble at one stage on KXLA, and sketching an ever-larger market. In 1947 he also produced the acquaintance of Cliffie Rock, a musician, announcer, and manufacturer who was quickly becoming perhaps one of the most important figures in nation music within the Western Coast. In the beginning, Ford made an appearance on Stone’s Hometown Jamboree, which began on radio and relocated to television later on within the 1940s, and in 1948 Rock brought him to Capitol Information, the start of a romantic relationship that could last for 40 years, within the remaining singer’s lifestyle. Five singles have been released by past due 1949, including “Tennessee Boundary” and “Smokey Hill Boogie” (both TOP) and his initial number one one, “Mule Teach.” His Traditional western music and boogie-flavored amounts offered a power level and intimate suggestiveness that produced them rock and roll & move in every but name, and his recordings presented the fantastic instrumental skills of Merle Travis on acoustic guitar and Speedy Western on pedal metal. Early in 1951, “Shotgun Boogie” became his second number 1, spending 14 weeks near the top of the country graphs. By the start of 1953, although Ford wasn’t having as much hits, he continued to be popular in the us and in addition in Britain. He became a tv quizmaster in 1954, hosting NBC’s display of Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Understanding. He also acquired his very own daily present and continued documenting. Some appearances on I REALLY LIKE Lucy (the other from the top-rated displays in the united states) as “Cousin Ernie” in two 1954 shows was therefore funny therefore well-known that he produced a follow-up appearance another year on a single series in exactly the same function, using his comedic rural nation persona. These shows just helped him maintain and broaden crossover charm, and at exactly the same time he was a downright ubiquitous shape on nation music variety displays of the time, including the Aged American Barn Dance. On several applications, he was billed basically as “Tennessee Ernie,” due to the actual fact that suppliers experienced that using his last name would promote an automobile organization that wasn’t always a sponsor. The general public was never puzzled, however, and understood who he was. He also added to movies like a vocalist. As soon as 1946 he’d demonstrated up uncredited like a hillbilly performer within the multi-Academy Award-winning episode The Best Many years of Our Lives, but ten years later his existence in films was a feature, much like his performance from the name song on the credits from the Marilyn Monroe/Robert Mitchum experience film River of No Come back in 1954, which became a pop strike. And many of these actions provide to illustrate Ford’s incredible range being a vocalist and performer, of music and humor, and an charm that cut across local and social — and also nationwide — lines. And even though his strikes tended to become compiled by others, he also made up tunes, including “Hogtied Over You,” “Kiss Me Big,” and “Softly and Tenderly.” Ford got two TOP nation strikes in 1955 with “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” and his biggest achievement, “Sixteen Plenty,” which spent ten weeks at number 1 on the united states graphs and eight weeks at number 1 for the pop graphs. From 1956 to 1965 he was a primetime network tv host, producing “Bless your small pea-pickin’ hearts” children catch term and providing effective publicity for Ford’s progressively middle-of-the-road music. For most of his sometimes risqué lyrics and laughter, Ford also got a seriously spiritual aspect to his function and persona, and his tone of voice was ideally suitable for big agreements of traditional hymns. His initial gospel record, Hymns (1956), became the very first religious record to go silver, while his second gospel record, Great Gospel Music, gained him a Grammy. He was hugely popular because the 1960s commenced and continued to be a favorite fixture on tv for most of this 10 years, and his recordings had been as ambitious because they had been effective. We Gather Jointly, a 1963 discharge made out of the San Quentin Jail Choir, was the initial recording available at the jail. Per year from then on — an interval where he released two even more religious-oriented albums, one a Xmas recording as well as the additional a gospel collection slice using the Jordanaires — he released Nation Strikes – Feelin’ Blue, a back-to-basics documenting which Ford, supported exclusively by Billy Unusual on electric guitar and John Mosher on bass, went through twelve nation music criteria; the latter is looked upon by many followers as the greatest nation LP of Ford’s profession. In 1965, he previously his last main chart access with the very best Ten solitary “Hicktown,” but he continuing to record gospel music and the casual nation record over the following 2 decades, interspersed with an record of patriotic music in 1970 along with a folk record the following calendar year. He began dealing with Cliffie Stone’s kid Steve Rock early for the reason that 10 years, which resulted in a revival of his existence within the product sales graphs with Nation Morning hours, released in 1973, which yielded a brace of fresh singles including one strike, “Printers Alley Superstars.” His most long lasting record of the 10 years, nevertheless, was Ernie Sings & Glen Picks, released in 1975; trim with Glen Campbell, it had been similar to Nation Hits – Feelin’ Blue from 12 years before being a stripped-down nation work, and it not merely sold well at that time but discovered a new viewers like a CD within the 1990s. Ford became a member of the rates of the united states Music Hall of Popularity in 1990, at age group 71. By that point, he was a cherished and relatively enigmatic elder statesman in the field, having willingly stepped from the limelight in addition to the periodic gospel recording. The very first critical reissues of his music started appearing on Compact disc in 1990, you start with Rhino Information’ 16 A great deal of Boogie: THE VERY BEST of Tennessee Ernie Ford, which protected material heading back to his early honky tonk sound, and choices of his gospel recordings started showing up from Capitol in this same period. During his loss of life from liver failing in nov 1991, he continued to be a much-loved amount considerably beyond the limitations of the united states music audience.

Quick Facts


Full Name Tennessee Ernie Ford
Died October 17, 1991, Reston, Virginia, United States
Profession Actor, Singer, Author, Announcer, Military Officer
Education Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
Nationality American
Spouse Beverly Wood Ford, Betty Heminger
Children Jeffrey Buckner Ford, Brion Leonard Ford
Parents Maud Long, Clarence Thomas Ford
Awards Grammy Hall of Fame, Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance, Academy of Country Music Awards Cliffie Stone Icon Award
Music Songs Shotgun Boogie, Mule Train, The Ballad of Davy Crockett, Shenandoah, Sixteen Tons, That Old-Time Religion, Blackberry Boogie, Smokey Mountain Boogie, Anticipation Blues, Watermelon Song, Union Dixie, I Love To Tell The Story, Take My Hand, Precious Lord, The Southern Wagon, The Star Carol, Peace in the Valley, Just a Little Talk With Jesus, Kissin' Bug Boogie, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Catfish Boogie, First Born, Rock City Boogie, I Can Whip the Scoundrel, Maryland, My Maryland, One Suit, River of No Return, Nearer My God To Thee, Milk 'em in the Morning Blues, The Valiant Conscript, My Task, Precious Memories, Tailor Made Woman
Albums Hymns, Amazing Grace: 40 Treasured Hymns, Sings Civil War Songs Of The South, Ol' Rockin' Ern, Sings Civil War Songs Of The North, Country Hits...Feelin' Blue, Ernie Sings & Glen Picks, A Treasury of Inspirational Songs, This Lusty Land, The Story Of Christmas, Come To The Fair, Civil War Songs Of The North (Expanded Edition), 6000 Sunset Boulevard, A Ford Show Family Christmas, Back Where I Belong (Digitally Remastered), Wayfaring Pilgrim, Vol. 2, Little Klinker...The Pup That Woke Santa Up, Standin' In The Need Of Prayer, Hope and Faith, Civil War Songs Of The North, Christmas Love, Ballad of Davy Crockett / Farewell (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Mono Version) [feat. Cliffie Stone and His Orchestra], The Collection Vol. 1, Two Sides of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Tennessee Ernie Ford Meets the Girls, The Tennessee Ernie Ford Collection 1949-61, The Rebel Soldier, Ol' Rockin' Em, Night Train, Nine Pound Hammer, Gilbert, Sullivan and Ford, Sacred Songs Of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Hey Mr Cotton Picker, Sixteen Tons - 50 Country Classics, T.E.F, Aloha from Tennessee Ernie Ford, Duets, The Definitive Collection of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Spiritual, On the Air, Vol 1, Countrypolitan Classics - Tennessee Ernie Ford, On The Air Volume 2, Tennessee Ernie Ford Invites You to Come to the Fair / Here Comes the Mississippi Showboat, On The Air Volume I, The Classic Collection 1949-1956, All-Time Greatest Hymns, Portrait of an American Singer, Vintage Collections Series, The Best of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Country Hits, Smokey Mountain Boogie
Nominations Primetime Emmy Award for Most Outstanding New Personality, NME Award for Favourite US Male Singer, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Male Personality Continuing Performance
Movies Mouse on the Mayflower, The Lonely Man, Man in the Saddle
TV Shows The Ford Show


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

#Fact
1 He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 1600 Vine Street, for Recording at 6922 Hollywood Boulevard, and for Television at 6311 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
2 While it never affected his professional work, nor was it ever publicized (for fear of how it would impact his career), Ford battled all his life with a drinking problem, something which ultimately undermined his health. In October, 1991, he collapsed after leaving a White House dinner and died at an area hospital a few days later, exactly one year to the day after being elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
3 Father of Jeffrey Buckner Ford.
4 His biggest hit "Sixteen Tons" was credited as being the first Rock and Roll big hit and for kicking off the Rock and Roll era of the 1950s.
5 He also sang the title song in the movie River of No Return (1954) starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. It was released as a single and did well on the record charts.
6 His popular TV program "The Ford Show" was not named after him, although many assumed so, but after his sponsor, the Ford Motor Company.
7 His book "Tennessee Ernie Ford's Book of Favorite Hymns" was a best-seller in its fleid when it was published in 1962, and a companion record album on Capitol Records was released later that same year.
8 Made the first tour of the Soviet Union with a country-western stage show (including Roy Clark) in 1974.
9 The album "Hymns" (1956) was on the USA Billboard Album charts for 350 consecutive weeks.
10 Used his influence to give many young performers their first break in show business, including San Francisco-area disk jockey turned TV personality Jim Lange (later of "The Dating Game"), and most notably, the singing duo the Everly Brothers.
11 His many albums of hymns and sacred music for Capitol and Ranwood records were among the top-sellers in their field, with "Hymns" (1957) and "Sing a Hymn with Me" (1961) both achieving Gold Record status.
12 His remains are buried at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto, California.
13 Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990.
14 Country singer.


Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You 2016 Documentary performer: "Sixteen Tons" written by nm0871419
Beaver Trilogy Part IV 2015 Documentary performer: "The Cry of the Wild Goose" written by nm0318601
Carrie 2013 performer: "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning", "His Amazing Grace"
The Unknown Known 2013 Documentary performer: "White Christmas"
Chuck 2011 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Fringe TV Series performer - 1 episode, 2010 writer - 1 episode, 2010
The Laundromat 2010 Short performer: "Pennies from Heaven"
W. 2008/I writer: "Shotgun Boogie" - as Ernest J. Ford
Unaccompanied Minors 2006 performer: "Rootin' Tootin' Santa Claus"
Best of Country Live! 2006 Video performer: "Shotgun Boogie" / writer: "Shotgun Boogie"
Wild Seven 2006 performer: "Sixteen Tons"
Door to Door 2002 TV Movie performer: "Sixteen Tons"
The Simpsons 1994 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Black Hearts Bleed Red 1992 Short writer: "Shotgun Boogie" - as Ernest J. Ford
Ghosts of the Sky 1989 Video documentary short performer: "Ghost Squadron"
Rising Storm 1989 performer: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"
Arena 1984 TV Series documentary performer - 1 episode
DTV: Golden Oldies 1984 Video performer: "Sixteen Tons"
Dolly 1976 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Johnny Cash Show 1970 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Dean Martin Show 1966 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Danny Kaye Show 1965 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Jack Benny Program 1961 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show TV Series performer - 186 episodes, 1956 - 1961 writer - 2 episodes, 1957
Make Room for Daddy 1959 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Lonely Man 1957 performer: "The Lonely Man"
Corral Cuties 1954 Short performer: "Don't Start Courtin' in a Hotrod", "Bright Lights and Blond Haired Women"
River of No Return 1954 performer: "River of No Return" - uncredited
Man in the Saddle 1951 performer: "Man in the Saddle" - uncredited

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Here's Lucy 1969 TV Series Ernie Epperson
Mouse on the Mayflower 1968 TV Movie Narrator (voice)
The Red Skelton Hour 1967 TV Series Loser Lumpkin
The Lucy Show 1967 TV Series Homer Higgins
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show 1962 TV Series
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show 1959-1960 TV Series Sir Joseph Porter Koko Narrator
Make Room for Daddy 1959 TV Series Kentucky Cal
The Lonely Man 1957 Singer (voice)
I Love Lucy 1954-1955 TV Series Cousin Ernie
Corral Cuties 1954 Short
Man in the Saddle 1951 Wrangler / Singer of Title Song (uncredited)
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 Nightclub / Hillbilly Singer (uncredited)

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Peapicker in Piccadilly 1969 TV Movie Himself - Host
The Joey Bishop Show 1967-1969 TV Series Himself
The Dean Martin Show 1966-1968 TV Series Himself
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Special 1968 TV Movie Himself - Host
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Special 1967 TV Movie Himself - Host
The Danny Thomas Hour 1967 TV Series Himself
The Andy Williams Show 1962-1966 TV Series Himself
The Danny Kaye Show 1965 TV Series Himself
The Hollywood Palace 1965 TV Series Himself - Host
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Hour 1964 TV Special Himself
The Story of Christmas 1963 TV Movie Himself
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show 1962 TV Series Himself - Host
The Jack Benny Program 1961 TV Series Himself
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show 1956-1961 TV Series Himself - Host / Himself / Escamillio
Here's Hollywood 1960 TV Series Himself
Startime 1960 TV Series Himself
The George Gobel Show 1955-1960 TV Series Himself
What's My Line? 1958 TV Series Himself - Mystery Guest
This Is Your Life 1956-1958 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guest of Honor
The Lux Show 1957 TV Series Himself
The Rosemary Clooney Show 1956-1957 TV Series Himself
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show 1957 TV Series Himself - Singer / Himself
The Steve Allen Show 1957 TV Series Himself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall 1956 TV Series Himself
The Colgate Comedy Hour 1955 TV Series Himself
The Red Skelton Hour 1954 TV Series Himself
Old American Barn Dance 1953 TV Series Regular performer (as Tennessee Ernie)
Songs for Sale 1951 TV Series Himself
Screen Snapshots: Jimmy McHugh's Song Party 1951 Short Himself
The Frank Sinatra Show 1951 TV Series Himself
Hometown Jamboree 1949 TV Series Himself (1949-1960)
A Ford Show Family Christmas 1994 Video Himself
24th Annual Country Music Association Awards 1990 TV Special Himself - Hall-Of-Fame Inductee
An All Star Salute to Country Music 1990 TV Movie Himself
Hee Haw 1973-1983 TV Series Himself / Himself - Storyteller / Himself - Special Guest / ...
Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters 1981 TV Series Himself
Dinah! 1975-1980 TV Series Himself
The Merv Griffin Show 1977 TV Series Himself
The Stars and Stripes Show 1976 TV Movie Himself - Host
Dolly 1976 TV Series Himself
The Hollywood Squares 1974-1976 TV Series Himself
9th Annual Country Music Association Awards 1975 TV Special Himself - Presenter
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1968-1975 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guest
The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour 1973-1974 TV Series Himself
Opryland U.S.A. 1973 TV Special Himself - Host
NBC Follies 1973 TV Series Himself
Tennessee Ernie Ford's White Christmas 1972 TV Movie Himself - Host / Singer
The Fabulous Fordies 1972 TV Special Himself - Host
Dinah's Place 1971 TV Series Himself
Sing America Beautiful 1971 TV Movie Himself - Host
The Jim Nabors Hour 1970-1971 TV Series Himself
The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour 1971 TV Series Himself - Guest Performer
The Johnny Cash Show 1970 TV Series Himself - Singer
The Kraft Music Hall 1969-1970 TV Series Himself - Host
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Special 1970 TV Movie Himself - Host
Laugh-In 1969-1970 TV Series Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Tab Hunter Confidential 2015 Documentary Himself
Here's Lucy Spotlight: Lucie Arnaz 2012 Video documentary short Clip from 'Here's Lucy'
Best of Country Live! 2006 Video Himself
I Love Lucy's 50th Anniversary Special 2001 TV Movie documentary
Tennessee Ernie Ford: Amazing Grace 1993 Video Himself
KTLA at 40: A Celebration of Los Angeles Television 1986 TV Movie Himself
Arena 1984 TV Series documentary Himself
DTV: Golden Oldies 1984 Video Himself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Television On 8 February 1960. At 6311 Hollywood Blvd.
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Recording On 8 February 1960. At 6922 Hollywood Blvd.
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Radio On 8 February 1960. At 1600 Vine Street.

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1957 Primetime Emmy Primetime Emmy Awards Best Male Personality - Continuing Performance
1955 Primetime Emmy Primetime Emmy Awards Most Outstanding New Personality


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#Quote
1 Bless your little pea-pickin' hearts.

#Trademark
1 Deep south country accent & slang terminolgist

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