The Info List - Nashville Sound

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The Nashville sound
Nashville sound
originated during the mid 1950s as a subgenre of American country music, replacing the chart dominance of the rough honky tonk music which was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s with "smooth strings and choruses", "sophisticated background vocals" and "smooth tempos".[1][2] It was an attempt "to revive country sales, which had been devastated by the rise of rock 'n' roll."[2]


1 Origins 2 Countrypolitan 3 Country pop 4 Examples of the Nashville sound 5 Examples of Countrypolitan 6 See also 7 References

Origins[edit] The Nashville sound
Nashville sound
was pioneered by staff at RCA Victor, Columbia Records and Decca Records
Decca Records
in Nashville, Tennessee. RCA Victor
RCA Victor
manager and producer Chet Atkins, and producers Steve Sholes, Owen Bradley, and Bob Ferguson, and recording engineer Bill Porter invented the form by replacing elements of the popular honky tonk style (fiddles, steel guitar, nasal lead vocals) with "smooth" elements from 1950s pop music (string sections, background vocals, crooning lead vocals), and using "slick" production, and pop music structures.[3][4] The producers relied on a small group of studio musicians known as the Nashville A-Team, whose quick adaptability and creative input made them vital to the hit-making process. The Anita Kerr
Anita Kerr
Quartet was the main vocal backing group in the early 1960s. In 1960, Time magazine reported that Nashville had "nosed out Hollywood
as the nation's second biggest (after New York) record-producing center."[5] The term "Nashville Sound" was first mentioned in an article about Jim Reeves in 1958 in the Music Reporter and again in 1960 in a Time magazine article about Reeves.[6] Other observers have identified several recordings that helped establish the early Nashville sound. Country historian Rich Kienzle says that "Gone", a Ferlin Husky
Ferlin Husky
hit recorded in November 1956, "may well have pointed the way to the Nashville sound." Writer Colin Escott proclaims Jim Reeves' "Four Walls", recorded February 1957, to be the "first 'Nashville sound' record", and Chet Atkins, the RCA Victor
RCA Victor
producer and guitarist most often credited with being the sound's primary artistic creator, pointed to his production of Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me" late that same year.[7] In an essay published in Heartaches by the Number: Country Music's 500 Greatest Singles, David Cantwell argues that Elvis Presley's rock and roll recording of "Don't Be Cruel" in July 1956 was the record that sparked the beginning of the era now called the Nashville sound.[7] Cantwell, however, doesn't factor in earlier Nashville recordings using vocal choruses, or the fact that Presley's recordings were not marketed as country. Regarding the Nashville sound, the record producer Owen Bradley stated, "Now we've cut out the fiddle and steel guitar and added choruses to country music. But it can't stop there. It always has to keep developing to keep fresh."[8] Countrypolitan[edit]

Lynn Anderson

In the early 1960s, the Nashville sound
Nashville sound
began to be challenged by the rival Bakersfield sound on the country side[3] and by the British Invasion on the pop side; compounding these problems were the sudden deaths, in separate airplane crashes, of Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline
and Jim Reeves, two of the Nashville Sound's biggest stars. Nashville's pop song structure became more pronounced and it morphed into what was called Countrypolitan—a smoother sound typified through the use of lush string arrangements with a real orchestra and often, background vocals provided by a choir. Countrypolitan
was aimed straight at mainstream markets and it sold well throughout the later 1960s into the early 1970s. Among the architects of this sound were producers Billy Sherrill (who was instrumental in shaping Tammy Wynette's early career) and Glenn Sutton. Artists who typified the countrypolitan sound initially included Wynette, Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell
(who recorded in Hollywood
and not Nashville), Lynn Anderson, Charlie Rich, and Charley Pride,[4] the latter being a rare example of a top-selling African-American
country performer. The Bakersfield sound, and later outlaw country, dominated country music among aficionados while countrypolitan reigned on the pop charts.[4] Upon being asked what the Nashville sound
Nashville sound
was, Chet Atkins
Chet Atkins
would put his hand into his pocket, shake his loose change, and say "That's what it is. It's the sound of money".[9] Country pop[edit] Main article: Country pop By the late 1970s and 1980s, many pop music singers picked up the countrypolitan style and created what is known as country pop, the fusion of country music and soft rock. Examples of the Nashville sound[edit] Classic examples of Nashville sound
Nashville sound

"Four Walls" by Jim Reeves
Jim Reeves
(1957) "Gone" by Ferlin Husky
Ferlin Husky
(1957) "A Fallen Star" by Jimmy C. Newman
Jimmy C. Newman
(1957) "The Three Bells" by The Browns
The Browns
(1959) "He'll Have to Go" by Jim Reeves
Jim Reeves
(1960) "Last Date" by Floyd Cramer
Floyd Cramer
(1960) "I'm Sorry" by Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee
(1960) "I Fall to Pieces" by Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline
(1961) "Hello Fool" by Ralph Emery (1961) "A Little Bitty Tear", "Call Me Mister In-Between", and "It's Just My Funny Way of Laughin'" by Burl Ives
Burl Ives
(1962) (Ives was not a country singer, but a folk singer.) "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis
Skeeter Davis
(1963) This record was a mainstream pop chart hit. "Here Comes My Baby" by Dottie West
Dottie West
(1964) "Make the World Go Away" by Eddy Arnold
Eddy Arnold
(1965) "Misty Blue" by Wilma Burgess
Wilma Burgess
(1966) "Danny Boy" by Ray Price (1967)

Examples of Countrypolitan[edit]

"(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" by Lynn Anderson
Lynn Anderson
(1971) " Help Me Make It Through the Night" by Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith
(1971) "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" by Charley Pride "Eleven Roses" by Hank Williams, Jr.
Hank Williams, Jr.
(1972) "Behind Closed Doors" by Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich
(1973) "Good News" by Jody Miller (1973) "The Most Beautiful Girl" by Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich
(1973) "Paper Roses" by Marie Osmond
Marie Osmond
(1973) "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell
(1975) "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones
George Jones
(1980) "Slow Hand" by Conway Twitty
Conway Twitty
(1982) The music of Ronnie Milsap "Lady", "You Decorated My Life" and similar songs by Kenny Rogers "When I Think About Cheatin'" by Gretchen Wilson
Gretchen Wilson

See also[edit]

The Nashville A-Team Nashville Sounds, a baseball team that borrows its name from the style


^ Byworth, Tony, ed. (2006). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music. London: Flame Tree Publishing. pp. 7, 115–117, 169. ISBN 978-1-84451-406-9.  ^ a b Dawidoff, Nicholas (1997). In the Country of Country. Great Britain: Faber and Faber. pp. 48–50. ISBN 0-571-19174-6.  ^ a b The Tennessee Encyclopedia. Nashville Recording Industry. Accessed April 9, 2016. ^ a b c Sanjek, Russell. (1988). "American Popular Music and Its Business: the first four hundred years". Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504311-1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  ^ Bill Ivey, Encyclopedia of Country Music ^ a b "The "Nashville Sound" Begins". Retrieved August 8, 2011.  ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 

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