Roy Acuff

Singer + Fiddler + Promoter
Born Sep 15, 1903

Roy Claxton Acuff was an American country music singer, fiddler, and promoter. Known as the "King of Country Music," Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band and "hoedown" format to the star singer-based format that helped make it internationally successful. Acuff began his music career in the 1930s, and gained regional fame as the singer and fiddler for his group, the Smoky Mountain Boys.… Read More

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1903 Birth Roy Acuff was born on September 15, 1903 in Maynardville, Tennessee to Ida (née Carr) and Simon E. Neill Acuff, the third of five children. … Read More


1919 15 Years Old In 1919, the Acuff family relocated to Fountain City (now a suburb of Knoxville), a few miles south of Maynardville. … Read More


1925 21 Years Old He was a three-sport standout at Central, and after graduating in 1925, he was offered a scholarship to Carson-Newman, but turned it down. … Read More
1929 25 Years Old In 1929, Acuff tried out for the Knoxville Smokies, a minor-league baseball team then affiliated with the New York (now San Francisco) Giants. … Read More
1930 26 Years Old The effects left him ill for several years, and he even suffered a nervous breakdown in 1930. "I couldn't stand any sunshine at all," he later recalled. … Read More
1932 28 Years Old In 1932, Dr. Hauer's medicine show, which toured the Southern Appalachian region, hired Acuff as one of its entertainers. … Read More


1934 30 Years Old In 1934, Acuff left the medicine show circuit and began playing at local shows with various musicians in the Knoxville area, where he had become a celebrity and fixture in local newspaper columns. … Read More
1936 32 Years Old The popularity of Acuff's rendering of the song "The Great Speckled Bird" helped the group land a contract with the ARC, for whom they recorded several dozen tracks (including the band's best-known track, "Wabash Cannonball") in 1936. Needing to complete a 20-song commitment, the band recorded two ribald tunes—including "When Lulu's Gone"—but released them under the pseudonym of "the Bang Boys". The group split from ARC in 1937 over a separate contract dispute. … Read More
1939 35 Years Old By 1939, Jess Easterday had switched to bass to replace Red Jones, and Acuff had added guitarist Lonnie "Pap" Wilson and banjoist Rachel Veach to fill out the band's line-up. … Read More
1940 36 Years Old 1 More Event
In spring 1940, Acuff and his band traveled to Hollywood, where they appeared with Hay and Macon in the motion picture, Grand Ole Opry.
1942 38 Years Old In 1942, Acuff and songwriter Fred Rose (1897–1954) formed Acuff-Rose Music. … Read More
1943 39 Years Old In 1943, Acuff was initiated into the East Nashville Freemasonic Lodge in Tennessee, to which he would remain a lifelong member. … Read More


1948 44 Years Old While Acuff initially did not take the suggestion seriously, he did accept the Republican Party nomination for governor in 1948. … Read More


1965 - 1972 2 More Events
1974 70 Years Old The appearance paved the way for one of the defining moments of Acuff's career, which came on the night of March 16, 1974, when the Opry officially moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. … Read More
1991 87 Years Old In 1991, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, and given a lifetime achievement award by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the first Country music act to receive the esteemed honor.
1992 89 Years Old Roy Acuff died in Nashville on November 23, 1992 of congestive heart failure at the age of 89. … Read More
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