Living Legends of the Golden Age of Country Music

A Uniquely American Phenomenon

Many of us became aware that country music began to change about 25 years ago, parting ways with the stars and style that brought it into the mainstream of public appreciation in the 1960s and 70s.  Beginning with a yodeling Jimmy Rogers strumming his guitar back in the 1920s and continuing on to Tanya Tucker in the early 1990s, the Nashville sound held its own as a truly American art form for the better part of the 20th century.  While borrowing from our Irish heritage, much of what makes country music great is that it is a uniquely American phenomenon.  After all, what could be more American than Kitty Wells, Little Jimmy Dickens or Bluegrass music!

We Love the ‘New Country’, Too!

Don’t get me wrong.  We love the country music of today and the many stars who make it so popular.  Many of them are solid patriotic Americans who cherish our Judeo-Christian heritage, like one of our favorite newcomers, Justin Moore.  While we firmly support their contribution to the world of entertainment, we still must recognize that the ‘new country’ is different than the music from the Golden Age of Country Music.  It seems that without the soulful voice backed up by a fiddle and steel guitar, something is lost in the translation.

Living Stars from the Golden Age of Country Music

Thankfully, many of the great performers of the Golden Age of Country Music are still living today.  In fact, you might be surprised to know some of the ones who are still with us.  With the help of our readers, we are compiling a list of these stars to which we will add as more are brought to our attention.  Please help us add to this list by submitting the names of living stars directly as a comment on this posting.  We salute the following Living Stars from the Golden Age of Country Music (golden stars of country music indicated accordingly) and thank them for the years of great entertainment they have provided us.  They are truly part of What Makes US Great! 

Bill Anderson

Lynn Anderson (1947-2015)

Moe Bandy

Bobby Bare

Jim Ed Brown (1934-2015)

Glen Campbell

Roy Clark

John Conlee

Mac Davis

Little Jimmy Dickens (1920-2015)

Mickey Gilley

Jack Greene

Merle Haggard

Tom T. Hall

Emmylou Harris

Jan Howard

Alan Jackson

Wanda Jackson

Sonny James

George Jones (1931-2013)

Claude King (1923-2013)

Kris Kristofferson

Jerry Lee Lewis

Loretta Lynn

Barbara Mandrell

Ronnie Milsap

Melba Montgomery

Anne Murray

Willie Nelson

Marie Osmond

Dolly Parton

Ray Price (1926-2013)

Charley Pride

Jeanne Pruett

Johnny Rodriguez

Kenny Rogers

Earl Scruggs (1924-2012)

Jeannie Seely

Jean Shepard

Ricky Skaggs

Connie Smith

George Strait

Mel Tillis

Randy Travis

Tanya Tucker

Kitty Wells (1919-2012)

Slim Whitman (1924-2013)

Don Williams

Hank Williams, Jr.

Johnnie Wright (1914-2011)

          On a personal note, I have had the good fortune to see a number of the great country music artists in concert, including Ernest Tubb, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Milsap, The Judds, Roy Clark, and Buck Owens with Buckaroo greats Don Rich and Doyle Holly. 

George Jones Celebrates 80th Birthday

George Jones Celebrates 80th Birthday         

          Country music legend George Jones celebrates his 80th birthday on September 12, 2011.  Considered by many to be the greatest living star of country music, Jones was born in East Texas and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War.  In 1955 his distinctive voice led to his first big hit, ‘Why Baby Why’.  Jones’ tumultuous career included bouts with alcoholism, a marriage to country megastar Tammy Wynette and a near fatal automobile accident.  

          Just a few of his greatest hits include, ‘She Thinks I Still Care’, ‘It’s Been a Good Year for the Roses’, ‘White Lightning’, ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ and ‘The Grand Tour’.  The quintessential survivor, Jones is still actively performing on a regular basis, to the delight of his millions of fans in the United States and around the world.  Happy Birthday, George, and may you continue singing for many years to come!  You are truly part of What Makes US Great!  

          Watch for our upcoming article on the Living Stars from the Golden Age of Country Music.  You might be surprised to know who’s still around.  Check out this video of George Jones singing ‘Angel Band’ with Country Gospel legend Vestal Freeman.  (To skip intro, music begins at 1:05)