1924 - 2001
Chester Burton Atkins was born June 20, 1924, on a farm near Luttrell, Tenn. He was known as a shy child who used his music as a form or self-expression. His first guitar was obtained through a trade for his old pistol. After graduating high school, he found himself playing music with the "Dixieland Swingers" on a Knoxville radio show. He went on to work various other jobs prior to arriving in Nashville in 1950. A few years later he found himself involved with the music industry, and grew into the position of Vice President of RCA, a position he held until his retirement in 1979.
During his recording career, he recorded more than 75 albums of guitar instrumentals and sold more than 75 million albums. He played on hundreds of hit records, including those of Elvis Presley and Hank Williams Sr..
"I realized that what I liked,
the public would like, too," . '"Cause I'm kind of square."
Chet Atkins to The Associated Press (1996)
As an executive with RCA Records, Chet played a part in the careers of Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Don Gibson, Dottie West, Charley Pride, Dolly Parton, Jerry Reed, Waylon Jennings, Eddy Arnold and many others.
"It's impossible to capsulize his
life - due to the profound impact he's had as a wonderful human being and
incredible member of our industry," . "His artistry and his influence
as an industry leader have impacted so many. There is no way to replace
him nor what he has meant to music and our Nashville community."
Joe Galante, chairman of the RCA Label Group in Nashville
He had battled cancer several years, having undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor in June 1997, and had a bout with colon cancer in the 1970s.
His unique and original guitar style influenced a generation of musicians and helped develop an easygoing country style.
Chet Atkins passed away at home, He was 77.
© 2001 Eddie Bear Productions