The Best of 1950s Country Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Best of 1950s Country Music takes you on a journey through the sounds of the 1950s. Featuring the best country artists of the decade.

The Birth of Rockabilly

In the early 1950s, country music was the most popular form of music in the United States. But by the end of the decade, a new style of music called rockabilly was beginning to take over. Rockabilly combined elements of country music with rhythm and blues to create a new sound that was perfect for dancing. The most famous rockabilly artist was Elvis Presley, who would go on to become one of the biggest stars in the world.

The Hillbilly Cat

In the early 1950s, a new type of music was born in the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky. Called “hillbilly music” by some and “country & western” by others, this new sound would come to be known as rockabilly.

The roots of rockabilly can be traced back to the 1920s and 1930s, when a number of different styles of music – including blues, country, and gospel – began to converge in the Appalachian region of the United States. In the 1940s, a new generation of country musicians – including Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, and Bill Monroe – began to experiment with these various styles, creating a unique blend that would come to be known as “country music.”

By the early 1950s, this new style of country music had begun to find its way into the mainstream. On the radio, country stations were beginning to play songs by artists like Ernest Tubb and Red Foley; in Nashville, record labels were signing up promising young singers like Jimmie Rodgers and Jerry Lee Lewis; and in Memphis, DJs like Dewey Phillips were playing a mix of country, blues, and R&B on their popular radio programs.

It was in this climate that rockabilly was born. Influenced by all these different styles of music – from country to gospel to blues to R&B – artists like Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis began experimenting with a new sound that combined all these influences into one explosive package.

The result was something entirely new – a sound that was at once familiar and yet completely fresh; a sound that would soon sweep across America and change the face of popular music forever.

The Killer

In the early 1950s, a new style of music called “rockabilly” was born. This style combined country music with rock and roll, and it quickly became popular with young people across the United States. One of the most famous rockabilly singers was Elvis Presley, who began his career in 1954. Presley’s popular hits such as “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock” helped to make rockabilly one of the most popular genres of music in the 1950s.

The Nashville Sound

The Nashville Sound is a subgenre of country music and popular music that originated in the 1950s in the United States. It relies on string instruments such as acoustic guitar and fiddle, as well as harmonicas, and is characterized by its distinctive twang. The Nashville Sound was a reaction to the honky-tonk music that was popular in the 1940s and early 1950s.

The Possum

George Jones was nicknamed “The Possum” for his similarities to the small, nocturnal marsupial. He began his career in the 1950s as a honky tonk singer, but he later developed his own style of country music that came to be known as “The Nashville Sound.”

The Nashville Sound is characterized by its use of string instruments, background vocals, and pop-influenced arrangements. It was pioneered by Jones and other country musicians who were looking to broaden the appeal of country music beyond its traditional base.

While some purists derided The Nashville Sound as “selling out,” there’s no denyiing that it helped country music reach a wider audience and achieve new levels of popularity in the 1950s and beyond. If you’re a fan of classic country music, then you owe a debt of gratitude to The Possum and the other pioneers of The Nashville Sound.

The Man in Black

In the 1950s, a new type of country music began to emerge in the form of the Nashville Sound. This style was a more polished and sophisticated version of traditional country music, and it quickly gained popularity with both country fans and mainstream audiences. One of the most iconic performers of this era was Johnny Cash, who became known as “The Man in Black” for his all-black stage attire.

Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, in 1932. He began his musical career in the 1950s, playing a mix of country, rockabilly, and blues. In 1955, he recorded his first album, “Songs of Our Soil,” which included the hit singles “I Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” Cash’s unique voice and style made him a favorite with fans, and he soon became one of the most popular country artists of his time.

In addition to his solo work, Cash also collaborated with other musicians throughout his career. He famously recorded duets with his wife, June Carter Cash, as well as with fellow country legend Willie Nelson. He also worked with fellow Nashville Sound pioneers like Roy Orbison and Kris Kristofferson.

Throughout his career, Johnny Cash remained true to his roots in country music. He continued to record and perform until shortly before his death in 2003. Today, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest country artists of all time.

The Outlaw Movement

In the 1950s, a new type of country music began to emerge. This type of country music was a reaction to the polished, Nashville sound that was becoming popular. This new type of country music was rawer and more emotional. It was also often about taboo subjects, such as drinking and cheating. This type of country music was known as the outlaw movement.

The Outlaw

The Outlaw Movement began in the 1950s as a reaction against the polished, pop-oriented sound of country music. Nashville was the center of the country music industry, and Outlaw artists felt that the producers and execs there were out of touch with what fans really wanted. So, they struck out on their own, creating a rawer, more authentic sound that was more representative of the country lifestyle.

Some of the most famous Outlaw artists include Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash. They were rebels in every sense of the word, and their music reflected that. If you’re a fan of country music, then you owe it to yourself to check out some of these Outlaw classics.

The Highwayman

The Highwayman was a popular country music song written by Jimmy Webb and made famous by country music supergroup, The Highwaymen. The song tells the story of a highwayman who is killed by the “forces of law and order” but is resurrected as a ghost to continue his life of crime.

The song was first released in 1985 and became a massive hit, reaching #1 on the country music charts. The Highwaymen’s version of the song features Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings.

The Bakersfield Sound

The Bakersfield sound is a subgenre of country music that originated in the city of Bakersfield, California in the 1950s. The sound is characterised by its twangy, honky-tonk sound and its focus on the working class. Some of the most famous artists associated with the Bakersfield sound are Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

The Singing Brakeman

The Bakersfield Sound is a subgenre of country music developed in the mid-1950s in and around Bakersfield, California. It derives its name from the city’s association with the early development of country music.

The Bakersfield Sound is characterized by the use of electric guitars, drums, and jangly Telecaster guitars with a twangy, slightly raucous sound. The sound was developed by a group ofmid-1950s honky tonk artists who had relocated to the area from other parts of the country, including Hank Williams, Jr., Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens.

The Singing Brakeman is a type of performer associated with the Bakersfield Sound. They are characterized by their use of electric guitars and their rough, twangy vocals.

The Bakersfield Sound

The Bakersfield Sound is a subgenre of country music that developed in the mid-1950s in and around the city of Bakersfield, California. The sound was characterized by a twangy, honky-tonk sound that was often infused with elements of rock and roll.

The Bakersfield Sound was first popularized by artists such as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, who both came to prominence in the 1960s. Owens is credited with helping to pioneer the sound with his 1954 hit “Under Your Spell Again,” which featured a twangy guitar sound that would become characteristic of the Bakersfield Sound.

The Sound reached its commercial peak in the 1960s and 1970s, with Owens and Haggard becoming two of the most popular country artists of all time. The Bakersfield Sound has since been revived by contemporary artists such as Brad Paisley and Dwight Yoakam.

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