Bobby Hebb and Roy Acuff
Roy Acuff was "The King of the Hillbillies", and a very important figure in American music. Bobby Hebb tap danced with Roy's SMOKEY MOUNTAIN BOYS and through this artistic effort, Bobby became only the third Afro American to perform at The Grand Ole Opry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Grand_Ole_Opry_members Roy was a pioneer in fighting segregation and demanded that Bobby stay at the same hotel as his bandmates wherever they traveled. We at BobbyHebb.com will have extensive audio and text from Bobby himself regarding his work with Roy. Joe Viglione May 29, 2007 Roy Claxton Acuff Roy Claxton Acuff (15 September 1903 - 23 November 1992) was an American country musician known around the world as the "King of Country Music". Early life He was born in Maynardville, Tennessee to Ida Carr and Simon E. Neil Acuff, the third of five children. He played semi-professional baseball, but a sunstroke in 1929 and a nervous breakdown in 1930 ended his aspirations to play for the New York Yankees. Music career He then turned his attention to his father's fiddle and began playing in a traveling medicine show. He toured the Southern United States and eventually formed a band called "The Crazy Tennesseans". In 1936, he recorded a cover of the traditional song The Great Speckled Bird. He soon debuted at the Grand Ole Opry. He was booked as a fiddler, and he should have played the Turkey Buzzard for a square dancin' segment, but he decided to try and sing The Great Speckled Bird. His decision was not well received, however. Acuff became a regular on the Opry in 1938, forming a backing band called the Smoky Mountain Boys, led by friend and Dobro player Bashful Brother Oswald. Acuff's recording of The House of the Rising Sun on November 3, 1938 is the first known commercial recording of the song. He released several singles in the 1940s such as The Wreck on the Highway, Beneath That Lonely Mound of Clay and The Precious Jewel. He later formed a music publishing venture with Chicago songwriter Fred Rose. Hank Williams, the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison, among others, all initially signed with Acuff-Rose Music. Acuff spent most of the 1950s and 1960s touring constantly, becoming one of the hottest tickets in country music. By the 1970s Acuff performed almost exclusively with the Grand Ole Opry, at Opryland USA, greatly legitimizing it as the top institution in country music. He made one rare appearance at Carlton Haney's Camp Spring Bluegrass Festival in 1971. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1991. Political Career Acuff had a brief affair with politics, losing a run for the office of Governor of Tennessee as a Republican in 1948. Acuff later campaigned in 1970 for his friend Tex Ritter in his campaign for GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Tennessee. Trivia A popular legend is that Japanese troops during World War II would enter battle yelling, "To hell with Roy Acuff". In 1962, Roy Acuff was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. For his contribution to the recording industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located on 1541 Vine St. Acuff was initiated as an Entered Apprentice at the East Nashville Freemasonry Lodge in 1943, and raised to Master Mason in 1944. He was made a 33rd Degree Mason on 21 October 1985. Acuff is thought to be one inspiration for Henry Gibson's character Haven Hamilton in Robert Altman's film Nashville. The fictionalized character was reportedly a composite of several well-known musicians, including Acuff and Hank Snow. Acuff on recording: "A little secret of my policy in the studio ... whenever you once decide that you are going to record a number, put everything you've got into it. Don't say, 'Oh, we'll take it over and do it again' because every time you go through it you lose just a little something ... Let's do it the first time and to hell with the rest of them" - on the classic album Will the Circle Be Unbroken. U.S. Olympian high jumper Amy Acuff is his distant cousin. Some sources erroneously list her as his daughter. Click on images for larger images.