The origins of country music can be found in recordings Southern Appalachian fiddle players made in the late 1910s. It wasn’t until the early ‘20s, that country music as music genre. The first commercial country record was made by Eck Robertson in 1922 on the Victor Records label. Vernon Dalhart had the first national country hit in 1924 with “Wreck of the Old ’97.”
The true moment when country music was born was in 1927, the year when Victor Records signed Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. Jimmie Rodgers, also known as the “Father of Country Music,” was great national success. He is credited with the first million-selling single, “Blue Yodel #1,” and his catalog of songs, all recorded between 1927 and 1933, established him as the first t voice in country music. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961.
The cowboy films of the 1930s and ‘40s contributed greatly to the evolution of country music. Stars like Roy Rogers (the “King of the Cowboys”) and Gene Autry transformed their musical careers into very successful acting careers. Much of the great music from this era was actually written specifically for the movies. As these films flourished at the box office, their soundtracks were great success, and the buying public ate them up. Great cowboy stars of the era also included Rogers’ wife, Dale Evans, the Sons of the Pioneers and Spade Cooley.
The 1979 John Travolta movie, Urban Cowboy, popularized a movement in country that focused heavily on easy-listening crossover success. History has proven that much of the music from this era, referred to by some as country’s disco era, was quite disposable. However, a number of notable artists did emerge during this dark period to forge wonderful careers, including Alabama George Strait, Reba McEntire and Steve Wariner.