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Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan

Brenda Lee
Cover of Brenda Lee

What is Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan Music

The Nashville Sound, wow, fancy having a sound named after you. It followed on after the dominance of Honky Tonk started to wane a little, (it’s not quite such an imaginative name though is it?) Honky Tonk dominated the charts throughout the 40’s and 50’s, then came the Nashville Sound and Countrypolitan Music. The name actually refers to how the music was produced, as well as an era of mystique, but the actual “sound” of Nashville Sound is from around 1957 or 1958.  Nashville began experimenting with sounds a little, mixing country and pop, trying to attract an adult audience. The record companies RCA and Columbia Records were in Nashville Tennessee, so that’s how it all came about. It’s a shame really that many people believe that the Nashville sound was orchestrated deliberately, rather than developing of its own accord, as it were, among the local musicians. Of course, around the early 1960’s the Bakersville Sound began to challenge the Nashville Sound (it was a direct challenge, on purpose if you know what I mean) and the Nashville Sound kind if morphed into Countrypolitan – this was aimed directly at the lucrative mainstream music market and was extremely popular throughout the 1960’s and into the early 70’s.

Representative Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan Musicians

Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan was very much created on purpose, but the main artists of the time which had success with this genre of music were Jim Reeves with “Four Walls”, Brenda Lee with “I’m Sorry” (I bet you remember that one don’t you?), Wilma Burgess and “Misty Blue” as well as Ray Price’s ever-ready classic “Danny Boy”.  Oh, and by the way, Burl Ives and Patsy Cline (not together) had a few Nashville sound hits too.  Countrypolitan, on the other hand, is more your Rhinestone Cowboy (I know all of the words) and Glenn Campbell, Conway Twitty with his “Slow Hand” and Marie Osmond’s “Paper Roses” – (I know all the words to that one too, I’m not proud but I do, I really do).

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