*Includes pictures *Includes the music stars' quotes about their lives and work *Includes a bibliography for further reading In the early 20th century, Westerns were one of the most popular genres in Hollywood, and one of the young stars at the forefront was Gene Autry, a Texan whose life story made him a natural to be the country’s most famous “singing cowboy”. Autry would become a symbol of masculinity and morality on screen during the 1930s, but it was effortless for someone who had already grown up riding horses to school. Autry came of age at a time when the “singing cowboy” was at the apex of his popularity, and like his most famous successor, Roy Rogers, Autry actually got his start in show business as a singer. Even today, Autry might be best known for being a pioneer of country music and the author of Christmas hits "Here Comes Santa Claus", "Frosty the Snowman", and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Autry would produce hundreds of recordings during his life, helping ensure the popularity of the country music genre and earning inductions into several related halls of fame. Roy Rogers came from an Ohio farm, but regardless of his background, Rogers certainly looked the part of the quintessential cowboy, along with his wife Dale Evans and his horse Trigger. His versatile singing and acting abilities made him successful both on radio and on the screen. Rogers came of age at a time when the “singing cowboy” was at the apex of his popularity, and that was favorable because he actually got his start in show business as a singer. In the early ‘30s, he bounced around several groups as a country music singer before earning national attention as a member of the Sons of the Pioneers, who were signed to Decca and had a couple of hits. As a result, when he first appeared in movies in 1935, it was usually in bit roles that required singing, but when Gene Autry threatened to quit acting in 1938, Rogers was viewed as a suitable replacement for lead roles. As it turned out, he became the premiere “singing cowboy” in Autry’s stead, and from 1939-1954, he was one of the Top 10 Western stars in Hollywood, and a Top 10 movie star overall during some of those years. Hank Williams is considered by many to be the first American superstar of the genre and the “father” of modern country music. In the post-World War II era, at a time when country music was an insulated and regionalized cottage industry, Williams almost personally oversaw its transition into a national mania that would be later taken up by such figures as Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, even as the musicians remained loyal to the genre’s older, rural roots. But Williams remained distinctly and unapologetically Southern, thereby avoiding adoption by the larger pop world even as his remarkable sense of phrasing and authentic texts fascinated pop artists across the country. Johnny Cash, “The Man in Black”, is among the most recognized and iconic vocal artists in the history of blues, country and gospel singing. During the second half of the 20th century, he produced a prolific and rarely-equaled career in the country genre as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, despite numerous struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. His trademark bass-baritone voice is instantly identifiable to listeners today, and his “parlando” style (combining an unaffected singing tone with a speech-like rhythm and pacing) has been taken up by the generation following his death in the early 21st century. While many celebrities have desperately tried to get as far away as possible from their impoverished upbringings, Dolly Parton constructed her star persona around the image of Appalachian country music culture. In many ways, Parton was raised in a quintessential Appalachian family, and while she has been resolute in expressing her affection for this background, it is impossible to deny that her upbringing posed obstacles that were difficult to overcome and related to societal and industrial levels.
Details Country Music Icons: The Lives and Careers of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton
|Title||Country Music Icons: The Lives and Careers of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton|
|Author||Charles River Editors|
|Release Date||1st Nov 2016|
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform|