August 29

Here Are Some Facts About Jimmie Rodgers, Widely Regarded As The Father Of Country Music

While his six year-career was cut short, Jimmie Rodgers managed to create and define the role of a country music star. 

His songs about rounders and gamblers, bounders and ramblers made him the first country star to be recognized all over the nation and the inspiration to many artists that includes Hank Snow, Bill Monroe, and Merle Haggard. Let’s get to know more about this country legend with these fun facts.

1. He’s a native of Meridian, Mississippi. 

Born James Charles Rodgers on September 8, 1897, the country singer was the youngest of three sons. His mother died when he was four, and his father worked as a migrant railroad gang foreman.

2. His mother’s sister was his first biggest musical influence. 

When he lost his mother, young Rodgers’ aunt – who was a former teacher with degrees in music – took him in. She introduced Rodgers to various kinds of genre, even vaudeville songs.

3. He was a wild boy.

While he never caused serious troubles, Rodgers frequently hung out in pool halls and seedy bars. At age thirteen, he found fame by winning a singing contest that encouraged Rodgers to keep running away with a traveling medicine show. His father would always track him down and bring him home.

4. He held a number of jobs at the railroad.

Rodgers left school for good at age fourteen and worked with his father at the railroad. He started as a water carrier, then a baggage master and flagman. The experience exposed him to work songs and early blues of African American laborers, inspiring some of Jimmie Rodgers songs. Eventually, he became a brakeman, a job he would do for the next ten years. 

5. He married twice. 

In 1917, Rodgers married Sandra Kelly after getting to know her for only a couple of weeks. Sadly, their marriage was as brief as their meeting. The couple separated in just a few months and were officially divorced two years later.

Soon enough, Rodgers met and married high school student Carrie Williamson.

6. He is one of the first artists to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

The Country Music Association created the Hall of Fame to recognize an individual’s significant contribution to the genre’s advancement. Rodgers was one of the first artists to be inducted in 1961, along with Fred Rose and Hank Williams. Rodgers was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Blues Hall of Fame. 

7. He died of a lung hemorrhage. 

In 1929, Rodgers officially became a country superstar, with his concerts and records consistently selling out well. Sadly, his diagnosis of tuberculosis five years ago caught on him. As his star shined even brighter, his health declined even more. He died on May 26, 1933, after completing a recording session where he was accompanied by a nurse and needed to rest on a cot in between songs.

Truly, Jimmie Rodgers is the man who started it all!


jimmie rodgers

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