Country Music History Timeline
(September 17, 1923)
Hank Williams Born
Hiram King "Hank" Williams is born in Olive, Alabama. Hank Williams will become country music's greatest icon and most imitated performer.
Vocalion Starts "Hillbilly" Series
The Vocalion company starts a series called "Special Records for Southern States" that will issue "hillbilly" records.
"Hillbilly" Becomes Genre Tag
The term "hillbilly" is first used in commercial country music.
(November 28, 1925)
The Barn Dance Format Launches
The show that will become the Grand Ole Opry radio "barn dance" program begins its run on WSM radio out of Nashville, Tennessee. It will grow to be the most popular and important program of its kind and launch the careers of many of country music's biggest stars.
First Country Stars Recorded at Bristol
During the first week of August, Ralph Peer makes the recordings of the now famous "Bristol Sessions" in Bristol, Tennessee, introducing fans to the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, the two most influential acts in the early history of country music.
The Opry Begins Its Official Run
WSM's Saturday night "barn dance" program officially becomes the Grand Ole Opry.
(September 8, 1932)
The Queen of Country Music is Born
Virginia Hensley, who will later be called Patsy Cline, is born in Winchester, VA. She will become the most influential female country artist of all time.
(May 6, 1933)
Rodgers, Country's First Superstar, Dies
Jimmie Rodgers dies of tuberculosis in New York City.
Fred Rose Begins His Career
Fred Rose, who will later revolutionize the country music business, briefly works for WSM as a songwriter.
Bob Wills Forms the Greatest Western Swing Band
Bob Wills and his Playboys become Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, the most famous of the era's western swing bands.