Roy Claxton Acuff (1903-1992), "the King of Country Music," was born on this day in Maynardsville, Tennessee, in what he called "a little three-room house." The son of a Baptist minister, Acuff moved to Knoxville at age 16.
A great musical stylist, the fiddle-playing Acuff inspired Hank Williams and George Jones with music that celebrated old-time country inspirations.
"Turn loose and have fun. Give the audience a show," he once said of his homespun, spirited performances that included balancing his fiddle bow on his nose.
Along with his band, The Smokey Mountain Boys, Acuff recorded such hits as The Precious Jewels (1940), Wreck on the Highway (1942), and Two Different Worlds (1945).
"People used to call it (county music) hillbilly music," Acuff once explained. "I never took offense at that. I'm from the mountains, so I guess I am a hillbilly."
In 1942, the Grand Ole Opry darling joined with prolific veteran songwriter Fred Rose to form Acuff-Rose, the first modern publishing company in Nashville (their motto: "songs for the home folk"). The duo became industry giants. In 1962, Acuff was elected the first living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
"I don't want anybody to grieve for me, because I've had a wonderful life." he reflected. "I've been able to do everything I've wanted to do. I've loved country music and country music has loved me back."
Be yourself. The world worships the original.