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The Nashville Sound developed in the late 1950s, when recording studios and artists replaced some of the traditional elements of honky-tonk music with more contemporary pop music sounds. Producer and musician Chet Atkins was one of the genre's inventors, and is credited with bringing country music to a much wider audience. With his smooth voice, Charley Pride is one of country music's few African-American stars—and the only one to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Women were also crucial to the popularity of the Nashville sound, with stars like Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynne bringing women's perpectives, as well as glamour, to the genre.
Not only did the Nashville Sound influence the sound of country music, but it also helped to establish Nashville, Tennessee, as the country music capital of the world. Thousands of aspiring artists now flock to the city each year, hoping they might be the next big, musical discovery.
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They are American icons—they're on our dollars and coins, they are the subject of our monuments, and we live our daily lives in the world their ideas helped create. America's "Founding Fathers" include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and of course, Benjamin Franklin. These men, together with several other key players of their time, structured the American democracy and left a legacy that has shaped the world. But beyond their legends, these men were human beings who led complex and fascinating lives. Learning their stories helps us better understand what made them tick, as well as their influence on our world today.
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