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Encyclopedia > Tennessee Ernie Ford
Tennessee Ernie Ford
Tennessee Ernie Ford

Ernest Jennings Ford (February 13, 1919October 17, 1991), better known by the stage name Tennessee Ernie Ford, was a pioneering U.S. recording artist and television host who enjoyed success in the country & western, pop, and gospel musical genres. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... is the 44th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... is the 290th day of the year (291st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... A stage name, also called a screen name, is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, musicians, djs, clowns, and professional wrestlers. ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... For popular forms of music in general, see Popular music. ... Gospel music is a musical genre characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a religious nature, particularly Christian. ... Musical genres are categories which contain music which share a certain style or which have certain elements in common. ...


Early life

Born in Bristol, Tennessee to Maud Long and Clarence Thomas Ford,[1] Ford began his radio career as an announcer at station WOPI in Bristol, leaving in 1939 to study classical music and voice at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. 1st Lieut. Ford served in World War II as the bombardier on a B-29 Superfortress flying missions over Japan. After the war, Ford worked at radio stations in San Bernardino and Pasadena, Calif. In San Bernardino, hired as a radio announcer, Ernest J. Ford did the news and general announcing. He was assigned the job of hosting an early morning country music disc jockey program titled "Bar Nothin' Ranch." To differentiate himself, he created the personality of "Tennessee Ernie," a wild, madcap exaggerated hillbilly and recorded songs such as The Bonnie Blue Flag. He became popular in the area and was soon hired away by Pasadena's KXLA radio. Nickname: Motto: A Good Place To Live Coordinates: , Country United States State Tennessee County Sullivan Government  - Mayor Jim Messimer Area  - City  29. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Classical music is a broad, somewhat imprecise term, referring to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, European art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly 1000 to the present day. ... The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music was a conservatory formed in 1867 by Clara Baur as part of a girls finishing school. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Bombardier Inc. ... The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a four-engine heavy bomber propeller aircraft flown by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II and other military organizations afterwards. ... San Bernardino is the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States. ... Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. ... San Bernardino is the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States. ... The Bonnie Blue Flag, referred to in the song. ...

At KXLA he continued doing the same show and also joined the cast of Cliffie Stone's popular live KXLA country show "Dinner Bell Roundup" as a vocalist while still doing the early morning broadcast. Stone, a part-time talent scout for Capitol Records, brought him to the attention of the label. In 1949, while still doing his morning show, he signed a contract with Capitol. He also became a local TV star as the star of Stone's popular Southern California Hometown Jamboree TV show. He released almost 50 country singles through the early 1950s, several of which made the charts. Many of his early records, including "Shotgun Boogie," "Blackberry Boogie," and so on were exciting, driving boogie-woogie records featuring exciting accompaniment by the Hometown Jamboree band which included Jimmy Bryant on lead guitar and pioneer pedal steel guitarist Speedy West. "I'll Never Be Free," a duet pairing Ford with Capitol Records pop singer Kay Starr, became a huge country and pop crossover hit in 1950. KXLA channel 44 is an independent television station serving Los Angeles, California. ... Capitol Records is a major United States-based record label, owned by EMI. // The Capitol Records company was founded by the songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1942, with the financial help of movie producer Buddy DeSylva and the business acumen of Glenn Wallichs, (1910-1971) (owner of Music City, at the... 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1949 calendar). ... A collection of various CD singles In music, a single is a short recording of one or more separate tracks. ... Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry. ... Jimmy Bryant (March 5, 1925–September 22, 1980) was a prominent American session guitarist. ... Wesley Webb Speedy West (January 25, 1924 – November 15, 2003) was an american steel guitarist, for a long time playing with Jimmy Bryant, either in their own duo or as backing band for Tennessee Ernie Ford and many others. ... Kay Starr on the cover of 2002 collection The Definitive Kay Starr on Capitol Kay Starr (born July 21, 1922) is an American jazz and popular singer. ...

Ford eventually ended his KXLA morning show and in the early 1950's, moved on from Hometown Jamboree. He took over from bandleader Kay Kyser as host of the TV version of NBC quiz show Kollege of Musical Knowledge when it returned briefly in 1954 after a four-year hiatus. He also portrayed the 'country bumpkin' "Cousin Ernie" on I Love Lucy. Kay Kyser (June 18, 1905, Rocky Mount, North Carolina - July 24, 1985) was a famous bandleader and one of the first to become a radio celebrity. ... The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American television network headquartered in the GE Building in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... Quiz Show is a 1994 film which tells the true story of the Twenty One quiz show scandal of the 1950s. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... I Love Lucy is a television situation comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and featuring Vivian Vance and William Frawley. ...

Sixteen Tons

Tennessee Ernie Ford album cover
Tennessee Ernie Ford album cover

Ford scored an unexpected hit on the pop charts in 1955 with his rendition of Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons," a sparsely arranged coal-miner's lament that Travis wrote in 1946, based on his own family's experience in the mines of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Its fatalistic tone contrasted vividly with the sugary pop ballads and the rock and roll just starting to dominate the charts at the time: Tennessee Ernie Ford album cover This is an album cover. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... Merle Travis (November 29, 1917 - October 20, 1983) is an American country and western singer, songwriter, and musician. ... Sixteen Tons is a song about the misery of coal mining, written in 1947 by U.S. country singer Merle Travis. ... Muhlenberg County is a county located in the state of Kentucky. ... Rock and roll (also spelled Rock n Roll, especially in its first decade), also called rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles. ...

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;
I owe my soul to the company store...

With a unique clarinet-driven pop arrangement by Ford's musical director, Jack Fascinato, "Sixteen Tons" spent ten weeks at number one on the country charts and eight weeks at number one on the pop charts, and made Ford a crossover star. It became Ford's 'signature song.' “St Peter” redirects here. ... A truck system is an exploitative form of employment — or, more specifically, unfree labour — under which workers are: paid in a form of limited direct credit or tokens, which may only be used at a company store, owned by their employers, or; paid in unexchangeable goods and/or...

Ford subsequently helmed his own primetime variety program, The Ford Show, which ran on NBC from 1956 to 1961. Ford's program was notable for the inclusion of a religious song at the end of every show; Ford insisted on this despite objections from network officials who feared it might provoke controversy. He earned the nickname "The Ol' Pea-Picker" due to his catch-phrase, "Bless your pea-pickin' heart!" He began using the term during his disc jockey days on KXLA. Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

In 1956 he released "Hymns", his first gospel album, which remained on Billboard's "Top Album" charts for a remarkable 277 consecutive weeks; his album "Great Gospel Songs" won a Grammy Award in 1964. After the NBC show ended, Ford moved his family to Northern California and from 1962-65, hosted a daytime talk show The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show from San Francisco, broadcast over the ABC television network. Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Also Nintendo emulator: 1964 (emulator). ... The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) operates television and radio networks in the United States and is also shown on basic cable in Canada. ...

Over the years, Ford was awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for radio, records, and television. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990. Buskers perform on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. ... The record industry is the part of the music industry that earns profit by selling sound recordings of music. ... The Presidential Medal of Freedom The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States and is bestowed by the President of the United States (the other award which is considered its equivalent is the Congressional Gold Medal, which is bestowed by an... This article is about the year. ... This official history of the Country Music Hall of Fame skirts the scandals well-documented by veteran Music Row historian Stacy Harris. ... Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ...

Offstage, Ford contended with a serious alcohol problem. While it never affected his professional work, it took an increasing toll on his health. He began suffering increasing liver problems in the 1980s that worsened in 1990, the year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His last interview was taped in September 1991 by his old friend Dinah Shore for her TV show. This official history of the Country Music Hall of Fame skirts the scandals well-documented by veteran Music Row historian Stacy Harris. ... Dinah Shore (born Frances Rose Shore February 29, 1916 - February 24, 1994) was an American singer and actress. ...

In October 1991, he fell ill after leaving a state dinner at the White House hosted by President George H. W. Bush. Ford died in a Virginia hospital on October 17, exactly thirty-six years after "Sixteen Tons" was released and one day shy of the first anniversary of his induction into the Hall of Fame. George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1989 to 1993. ...

Ford was posthumously recognized for his gospel music contributions by adding him to the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1994. The Gospel Music Association (GMA) was founded in 1964 for the purpose of supporting and promoting the development of all forms of Gospel music. ... The Gospel Music Hall of Fame, created in 1971 by the Gospel Music Association, is a Hall of Fame dedicated exclusively to recognizing meaningful contributions by individuals in all forms of gospel music. ...

He is mentioned in the Tom Waits song "First Kiss". Thomas Alan Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. ...


  • 1948 Keep Lookin' Up Word
  • 1955 This Lusty Land! Capitol
  • 1956 Hymns Capitol
  • 1957 Ol' Rockin' Ern' Capitol
  • 1957 Spirituals Capitol
  • 1958 Nearer the Cross Capitol
  • 1959 Gather 'Round Capitol
  • 1960 Come to the Fair Capitol
  • 1960 Sixteen Tons Capitol
  • 1960 What a Friend We Have Capitol
  • 1961 Civil War Songs of the North Capitol
  • 1961 Hymns at Home Capitol
  • 1962 Book of Favorite Hymns Capitol
  • 1962 Here Comes the Mississippi Showboat Capitol
  • 1962 I Love to Tell the Story Capitol
  • 1963 Long, Long Ago Capitol
  • 1963 The Story of Christmas Capitol
  • 1965 Sing We Now of Christmas Capitol
  • 1966 Bless Your Pea Pickin' Heart! Pickwick
  • 1966 My Favorite Things Capitol
  • 1967 Civil War Songs of the South Capitol
  • 1967 Aloha from Tennessee Ernie Ford Capitol
  • 1968 Tennesse Ernie Ford Deluxe Set Capitol
  • 196? I Love You So Much It Hurts Me Pickwick
  • 1970 America the Beautiful Capitol
  • 1970 Sweet Hour of Prayer CEMA
  • 1973 Country Morning Capitol
  • 1975 Ernie Sings & Glen Picks Capitol
  • 1975 Make a Joyful Noise Capitol
  • 1975 Precious Memories Capitol
  • 1976 For The 83rd Time Capitol
  • 1977 He Touched Me Word
  • 1978 Swing Wide Your Golden Gate Word
  • 1981 Tell Me the Old, Old Story Word
  • 1991 Sings Songs of the Civil War Capitol
  • 1991 Red, White & Blue Capitol
  • 1991 The Heart of Christmas Capitol
  • 1992 Favorite Hymns Vanguard
  • 1992 My Christmas Favorites CEMA
  • 1994 Showtime A Touch Of Magic
  • 1995 What a Friend We Have in Jesus Arrival
  • 1995 Christmas with Tennessee Ernie Ford & Wayne Newton Cema Special Markets
  • 1995 Christmas Cema Special Markets
  • 1995 Favorite Songs of Christmas Cema Special Markets
  • 2004 For the New Crop Heartcore
  • 2006 The HoneyMoon's Over Pegasus


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