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October 17

Remembering One of the Pioneers: “Tennessee Ernie Ford”

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I always remember my grandma’s house as a museum of the past because she had a lot memorabilia from her childhood. Including pictures and CDs of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Elvis Presley, Charlie Pride, and many more. Further, she is an antique collector, and it’s like traveling through time every time I visit her. Anyhow, it is natural for humans to be attached from those things especially if they have sentimental value. We always reminisce on what happened in the past whether it is good or bad.

The point is if we are the sentimental kind of person then we will never forget those special events that happened. Memories will always stay in our hearts.

“The Icon”

“Tennessee Ernie Ford” was also known as “Earnest Jennings Ford.” He was an American host and recording artist with a lot of genres. Thus, his most widely known songs recorded was “The Shotgun Boogie” and “Sixteen Tons.” Tennessee Ford began his career as a radio announcer 30’s until he decided to quit and pursue studying classical music. In 1949, he signed with Capitol Records and started his singing career which he really wanted to do.

In addition, Tennessee Ford released almost 50 Country singles with Capitol. It only shows that he is an asset. Further, his early records were “The Shotgun Boogie” and “Blackberry Boogie.” Anyhow, one of the big breaks of Ford is when he had a duet with Kay Starr, and they recorded “I’ll Never Be Free” which became a big hit in the 50’s.

“A Coal Miners Song”

Well, isn’t it nice to know about the history of each song and to whom they are dedicated for? “Sixteen Tons” as a song written by “Merle Travis” and it was given life by Tennessee Ford. Also, the song “Sixteen Tons” was about the life of coal miners in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  I have never experienced working in a coal mine but based on the documentaries that I’ve watched; it’s tough to be in their shoes. If we are complaining about our jobs or our life, then we should consider other people with more challenging situations.

In the same way, the song reached no. 1 at Billboards charts when Tennessee Ford recorded it in 1955, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. Ford did serve a new standard of singing with his snapping finger and brilliant pop arrangement. Likewise, his single “Sixteen Tons” became a worldwide sensation hitting the UK Singles Chart staying at no. 1 for four weeks.

I mean, how can people not love his single? It’s fresh and new to the public. Plus, it shows the reality of what people in the coal mines have. It is just sad that he had to go in 1991, but he will still be the ever famous Mr. Ford that we know. Other people say that once we die no one will remember us, but they are wrong. As long as we leave a legacy, then we will be remembered.

Any thoughts? Tell us what you think. Don’t forget to like and share this post. Share the country spirit, folks! For more country reads, visit our website. Follow us also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Merle Travis, sixteen tons, Tennessee Ernie Ford


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