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Roy Clark Helped Popularize Country Music

Roy Clark is a familiar face even to folks who are not country music fans.

He is a great instrumentalist and very funny and engaging entertainer who gained fame as the host of the 1970s television program Hee Haw. It’s interesting and a bit funny that Clark, who was born in 1933, grew up on Staten Island, NY and lived in Washington, DC. Neither is a hotbed of country music. The young Clark was a boxer. He won 15 of 17 fights before opting for music.

The biographies give Clark much credit for popularizing country music. In addition to Hee Haw — he co-hosted with Buck Owens — Clark was a frequent guest and guest host on Johnny Carson’s on The Tonight Show and appeared in sitcoms and movies. That was as much to do with his easy-going style as his musical talents.

He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and is in the Country Music Hall of Fame. In addition to guitar, Clark plays banjo – he won two national banjo championships — and violin. He still is performing.

The profiles tell the story of Clark’s rise to stardom. High points include his work as a regular on Jimmy Dean’s television show in Washington and, in 1960, his decision to move west and to lead Wanda Jackson’s band. Another highlight, according to the AllMusic profile, was a tour of the Soviet Union that sold out 18 concerts.

Above is “Alabama Jubilee” and below is “Under the Double Eagle.”

Profiles from Wikipedia and AllMusic – written by David Vinopal – were used to write this post. The home page photo is by Bret Stewart.

 

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

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