Johnson presses the first commercial 2 sided discs, which are children’s records.
Scott Joplin’s, ‘The maple leaf rag’.

Columbia starts producing & selling disc records.

1903 – September 27th , a mail train on the Southern railroad crashes, killing several people. The event becomes the subject of Vernon Dalhart’s 1924 single, ‘The wreck of the old ‘97’, one of country music’s best selling records.
The auto industry begins.
The Wright brothers first flight.

The first U.S. movie theatre opens in Pittsburgh.

Influenza epidemic kills 500,000 in the U.S. & over 21,000,000 worldwide.

1919 – The Gibson company markets Lloyd Loar’s new, easy to hold mandolin, which sells extremely well in rural America.

1920 – Westinghouse launches commercial radio in Pittsburgh.
Commercial air travel begins.
Gennett records changed from vertical cut records to lateral & were sued by patent holders Victor. Three years later Gennet won & opened up the market to small independent companies.

1922 – March 16th. Atlanta’s radio station, WSB makes its on-air debut.
Fiddle players Eck Robertson & Henry Gilliland make the first ‘country’ records for New York’s Victor label.

1923 -   January 4th. WBAP, in Fort Worth, Texas broadcasts its first live ‘Barn Dance’. Robertson becomes the first musician to promote his work via radio by performing 2 of his recorded songs on WSB. Fiddlin’ John Carson cuts ‘The little old log cabin in the lane, which is arguably the first ever recorded ‘country’ record.

1924. April 19th. Chicago’s WLS broadcasts a show of live, rural music; the programme will turn into the WLS Barn Dance.

1925. The term ‘Hillbilly’ is coined by Al Hopkins & his group of mountain musicians.
Nashville’s WSM radio begins broadcasting a Barn Dance programme.

1926. The National Broadcasting Company launches the NBC radio network.
Uncle dave Macon becomes the first star of the WSM Barn Dance.
Henry Ford presents several national fiddling contests.

1927. In August, Jimmie Rogers & the Carter Family audition for Victor Records, Ralph peer in Bristol, Tennessee; this results in Rogers ‘Sleep baby sleep’ & the Carters ‘Bury me under the weeping willow’.
George Hay rechristens the WSM Barn Dance the ‘Grand Ole Opry’.

1929. The great depression flattens the recording industry.
Rogers appears in Columbia pictures 15 minute film ‘The singing brakeman’

1931. Fiddling legend Uncle Jimmy Thompson, who debuted on WSM in 1925 & gained acclaim during Henry Ford’s fiddling contests, dies at age 83.

1932. WLS moves its Barn dance to the 8th street theatre, a much larger venue.

1933. 35 year old Jimmie Rogers dies of a tuberculosis related haemorrhage.

1934. The Decca label rejuvenates record sales, its 35 cent discs, including titles by Stuart Hamblen, Jimmie Davis & the carter Family, are far more affordable than the 75 cent standard. The ensuing price war stimulates business.

1935. America’s favourite singing cowboy, Gene Autry, stars in ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds’; the title song being a hit single, one of many Autry will score after 1931’s ‘That silver haired daddy of mine.
Patsy Montana becomes the first female artist to sell 1,000,000 records with ‘I want to be a cowboys sweetheart’.








Page 2