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Rodgers recorded two songs for Peer that day: "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" and "The Soldier's Sweetheart." The former became a surprise hit, introducing Rodgers to national audiences for the first time.
Besides giving Jimmie Rodgers' his big break, Peer's ten-day stop in Bristol (known ever after in country music lore as The Bristol Sessions) also launched the career of the legendary Carter Family; many consider it the foundational moment in the history of modern country music.
In November 1927, Rodgers recorded "Blue Yodel (T is for Texas)." Based on twelve-bar blues and featuring a unique yodeling chorus, the song transformed Rodgers into a national star. Over the next five years, Rodgers recorded such country music classics and forerunners of rock and roll as "Waiting for a Train," "Daddy and Home," "In the Jailhouse Now," "My Little Lady" and "Miss the Mississippi and You." However, Rodgers' most popular songs were his twelve different sequels to "Blue Yodel"—"Blue Yodel Nos. 2-13"—all of which were also based on 12-bar blues and featured Rodgers' distinctive yodeling choruses. The most famous of these sequels were "Blue Yodel No. 8 (Mule Skinner Blues)" and "Blue Yodel No. 9 (Standin' On the Corner)," both recorded in 1930 —the latter featuring the great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong. In 1929, Rodgers also starred in a movie called The Singing Brakeman.
By 1933, Rodgers' record sales and concert attendance were flagging due to the Great Depression, and his health was failing as his tuberculosis worsened. In May 1933, he managed to travel to New York, where he was under contract to produce a dozen more records. His recordings from that session included two hits in "Mississippi Delta Blues" and "Years Ago," but the effort it took to record these songs sapped Rodgers of what little energy he had left. Rodgers collapsed on the street on May 24 and passed away just two days later on May 26, 1933. He was only 35 years old.
Jimmie Rodgers married Carrie Williamson in 1920. They had two daughters, Anita (born 1921) and June (born 1923), and remained married until Rodgers' death.
Although his recording career spanned only six years, Jimmie Rodgers nevertheless had a profound impact on the development of both country music and rock and roll. Bestowed with such nicknames as the Blue Yodeler, the Singing Brakeman and the Father of Country Music, Rodgers' 110 songs about hard work, hard drinking and heartbreak set an emotional tone for country music that has remained its focus to this date. His heavy reliance on African American blues and jazz set a precedent that shaped the development of both country music and rock and roll over the ensuing decades. Summing up Rodgers' influence on modern music, folk legend Bob Dylan said, "Jimmie Rodgers, of course, is one of the guiding lights of the Twentieth Century, whose way with song has always been an inspiration to those of us who have followed the path. He was a performer of force without precedent with a sound as lonesome and mystical as it was dynamic. He gives hope to the vanquished and humility to the mighty."
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When it comes to singing about struggle and emotion, there are few genres that match the intensity of country music. Country music was born from musicians that were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves from happiness to heartache. Because of country icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmie Rodgers, this southern, soulful genre has grown to become loved by many. Browse through the legends that established country music as the popular genre that it is today.
Country Legends 18 people in this group
A uniquely American genre, country music got its start in the South in the early 19th century, when immigrants blended their Old World sounds with African-American musical styles. But it was the lives of the musicians, as told in their songs, that turned country into one of the best-loved musical styles in the United States. Listeners could relate to Jimmie Rodgers' stories of the railroad in "The Brakeman's Blues"; Hank Williams' struggle with depression in tunes such as "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"; and the promise of finding someone to rely on in George Jones' "Walk Through This World With Me." And its the universal struggles of love, loss, joy and longing found in each country song that keeps this music—and its performers—relevant throughout time.
Country Music Pioneers 6 people in this group
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