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Country music, also called old-time or "hillbilly" music, emerged in the early decades of the 1900s. By 1920 the first country music radio stations had opened and healthy record sales in rural areas caused music industry executives to take notice. Then a major event took place in 1925, forever changing the nature of country music. On November 28, 1925, at the height of the American jazz craze, a broadcast from the WSM radio station in Nashville, Tennessee, sparked a national interest in country music. Radio host George D. Hay introduced the The WSM Barn Dance as The Grand Ole Opry because it was aired right after an opera program. The show's first performer was Uncle Jimmy Thompson (1848–1931). Other early favorites included Uncle David Macon (1870–1952), who played the banjo and sang, and Roy Acuff (1903–1992), who was the Opry's first singing star. Millions of listeners tuned in to The Grand Ole Opry each week and soon the show had turned Nashville into "Music City USA." From the 1960s through the 1990s, country music continued to grow in popularity while still appealing to the small-town, rural audience who were the first fans.
Further Information: The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia. New York: Time Books, 1994; Country Music New and Events Magazine. [Online] Available http://www.country-music-club. com/country-events.htm, October 23, 2000; Malone, Bill. Country Music USA: A Fifty Year History. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 1968; Stambler, Irwin. Golden Guitars: The Story of Country Music. New York: Four Winds Press, 1971.
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