chet atkins

9 12 2007

chet atkins is the most recorded solo instrumentalist of all time.  known as “mr. guitar,” chet was one of the most influential country artists in history.  he laid down tracks for the likes of elvis presley and hank williams, and his innovative, finger picking style influenced such legendary musicians as mark knopfler and george harrison.  chet defined what is now known as “the nashville sound,” which, by minimizing the role of the steel guitar and fiddle, gave country music broader appeal.  tip your hat, shania, and carrie, and faith…

chet played mostly gibson and gretch, and one of the most beautiful acoustic-electric guitars ever made bears his name – the gibson chet atkins.  throughout his career, chet won 9 cma musician of the year awards, 13 grammies – the most ever for a country artist – and in 1997, received billboard magazine’s most prestigious honor, the century award.  chet’s first hit tune was one we all know and love, “mr. sandman.”

as an executive at rca records, chet launched the careers of numerous country artists, including waylon jennings and dolly parton, and he produced albums for the likes of perry como, skeeter davis and bobby dare.  after his time at rca, chet signed on with columbia records.  in the 80’s and 90’s, he continued his brilliant career, making several albums, including a cd of duets with one of his proteges, mark knopfler.  chet recorded nearly 150 albums during his career, playing on countless others.

throughout his career, chet was quoted several times as saying, “years from now, after i’m gone, someone will listen to what i’ve done and know i was here.  they may not know or care who i was, but they’ll hear my guitars speaking for me.”  in 2001, chet passed away at his home in nashville.  indeed, the musical world knows chet was here.  he changed its landscape perhaps more than any other person in the 20th century.  now let’s hear what chet’s guitars have to say…




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