The second part of our country music adventure to find the best ever country artists suggests more names that should adorn any best of country music lists. Already we have posted legendary names such as Kitty Wells, Jimmie Rodgers, George Jones and Hank Williams, and in this blog, we add even more great names.
Not a name that trips off the tongue for many country music fans, but Lefty Frizzell deserves recognition for his work in the 1950s that was quite extraordinary. Frizzell developed a way of singing that would allow bend vowels, generations of country singers would emulate this style for years to follow. At the top of his career, Lefty Frizzell had four top ten songs simultaneously, something that has only ever been matched by the Beatles. His influence is recognized in the works of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.
Roy Acuff was at the top of the country music scene for over forty years, some says he was the King of Country Music, and another accolade was that he was the face of the Grand Ole Opry until his passing in 1992. Acuff was renowned for bringing country music into the mainstream music of America during his life. He was so important to the country music industry – he became the first artist that was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame whilst still being alive.
Honky Tonk Girl steamrollered Loretta Lynn to instant overnight stardom in 1960, and for the following two decades she became country music’s leading female artist. Hailing from Kentucky, Loretta Lynn’s voice was as country as you could possibly get, and a lesser known fact was that she is responsible for writing nearly all her own material.
Eddy Arnold broke the mold of what a country music star should look and sound like. His career is particularly interesting as it followed two personas, the first being the Tennessee Plowboy in the 1940s, followed then by the smooth crooner countrypolitan in the 1960s. Interestingly Eddy Arnold has charted more than any other country artist in history.
Perhaps the most original honky tonk artist of them all, he had millions of adoring fans. Appearing regularly on The Grand Ole Opry, Tubb influenced generations of country music artists for years to come. Ernest Tubb also had a most popular midnight radio show Ernest Tubb Record Shop which was single handedly responsible for launching dozens of country music’s biggest ever stars.
Along with Hank Williams, Merle Haggard has been the most influential artist in the modern country era. Haggard can play and sing just about anything, from political rantings to tender love songs, his repertoire covers every country genre. He is known as the songwriter’s songwriter, and such a great accolade displays his popularity from both his peers and his fans. Of course, such a short list cannot possibly have room for the likes of, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Vernon Dalhart, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Tammy Wynette, Jim Reeves or George Strait. But this is the list as of today, who knows who may feature tomorrow?