Country music first began in the Southern United States in the 1920’s. Over the years the popularity of country music has steadily grown and so has the effect it has had on Top 40 music. You can see the evolution of country over the years, through its biggest stars.
Fiddlin John Carson was the first major act in country music. His first hit song was “The little Old Log Cabin in The Lane” which was released in 1923.
Hank Williams is regarded as one of the most significant influences in the development of country music ever. He was mentored by Rufus Payne, a blues musician. With Payne’s influence Williams was able to blend hillbilly, folk and blues music. Williams’ song “Lovesick Blues” was released in 1949 and topped the country charts.
When hillbilly rock became the most popular type of country music in the 1950’s artists like Johnny Cash rose to fame. Cash has become a legend in country music. His distinctive voice and musical sound set him apart from other performers. One of his greatest songs and Cash’s first #1 hit was “I Walk the Line”. The song was released in 1956.
Outlaw Country, a popular subcategory of country music in the 1960’s and 70’s was characterized by artists like the great Willie Nelson. Check out this clip of Nelson performing at the Grand Ole’ Opry in 1965.