Country music singer, musician, and songwriter, born in Maynardville, Tennessee, USA, 15 September 1903 and died on 23 November 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA with congestive heart failure.
Roy Claxton Acuff was a crooning fiddle player from the mountains of Tennessee who became one of country music’s biggest stars. Acuff, a gifted athlete, started out to be a baseball player before a bad case of sunstroke ended his career in the minor leagues. He began performing on the radio in 1933 with his backing band, the Tennessee Crackerjacks, and by 1936 they were making records and performing throughout the region.
During World War 2 he was hugely popular and became known as ‘the King of Country Music’, touring the USA and appearing in several films. His unique singing style influenced such musicians as Hank Williams, and among his most famous songs are ‘The Great Speckled Bird’ and ‘Wabash Cannon Ball’ (both 1936).
Although his style of country music was less popular by the late 1950s, he continued to appear on the ‘Grand Ole Opry’. He was co-owner of Acuff-Rose, a music publishing company, and he remained active in Tennessee Republican politics.
Besides his distinctive “hillbilly” voice, Acuff’s sound included a dobro (a Hawaiian guitar)… He was the (losing) Republican candidate for governor of Tennessee in the election of 1948.