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Biography

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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 20 June 1924Luttrell, Tennessee, USA
Date of Death 30 June 2001Nashville, Tennessee, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameChester Burton Atkins
Nicknames Mr. Guitar
The Country Gentleman
Country Gentleman
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Chet Atkins was an A&R (artist and repertoire) executive for RCA Victor Records from 1958 until 1974, producing recordings for such artists as Elvis Presley, Bobby Bare, Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Skeeter Davis, Waylon Jennings, Duane Eddy, The Browns, Charley Pride, Hank Snow and The Everly Brothers, to name just a few. In the early 1960s, at the peak of his production activity, he supervised as many as 300 recording sessions a year - each session lasting at most three hours and yielding three or four arranged and completed tracks. At his disposal were the cream of Nashville session musicians, the so-called "A-list", including pianists Floyd Cramer and Hargus Robbins, saxophonist Boots Randolph, guitarists Grady Martin, Harold Bradley and Hank Garland, legendary bassist Bob Moore, drummer Hugh Harman and renowned harmonica artist Charlie McCoy, backed up by superb vocalists such as Anita Kerr, Millie Kirkham and The Jordanaires. A superb talent with an amazing sense of musical creativity, Chet Atkins wrote the "book" for much of what we consider good popular music today.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Nonymous

Spouse (1)

Leona Johnson (3 July 1946 - 30 June 2001) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (13)

5th cousin thrice-removed of Scott Trimble.
Country music guitarist and record company executive.
Played guitar on many classic recordings, such as Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel", Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart", and the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie".
Won 14 Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973, at age 49.
Recorded 100+ albums.
Daughter, Merle (named after Merle Travis), born 1947.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 (under the category Side-Men).
Was the brother-in-law of Jethro of the country-music comedy duo Homer and Jethro.
Brother of singer/radio personality Jim Atkins.
Was a licensed amateur (ham) radio operator with the call sign W4CGP. His call is now owned by a young musician who is a big admirer of the late star.
Covered the song "Sugarfoot Rag" by Hank Garland, for his album "Guitar Country" (1964)
Designed electric guitars for the Gretsch Company, including the one George Harrison played the first two times The Beatles performed on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show, "The Chet Atkins Country Gentleman". That guitar, among others he designed for Gretsch, are still available today.

Personal Quotes (8)

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.
\I realized that what I liked, the public would like, too, 'cause I'm kind of square.
Hank Garland was very outspoken and he had a lot of ideas. He didn't take any talk from any producer. If they said something smart to him, his face would get real red and he'd say something back. But he was such a good musician that everyone had a terrible amount of respect for him, so nobody stepped on his toes. He could only help you: he was so good, he could never hurt you.
[on the first time he heard Hank Garland] I was in Knoxville, and I heard this chorus. I don't recall the artist now, but I remember then that I thought it was the greatest guitar chorus I'd ever heard, so I checked around and found out it was Hank Garland who played it.
[on producing records with Jim Reeves, aka "Gentleman Jim", who joined RCA in 1955 after recording several years for Abbott Records] When I first met and started working with him, he was singing too high. He was a great baritone, but he wasn't a very good tenor. I always tried to keep him down in a low key, because when he did that, he sounded wonderful to me. He knew I liked it when he sang in that low key, but occasionally he'd kid me a little and pitch it up a little too high.
Everything I've ever done was out of fear of being mediocre.
Once when I was on a cruise ship I was practicing on deck and drew a little crowd. When I was done, one lady told me "You're good but you're no Chet Atkins."
I was more interested in my guitar than the fiddle and I'd fool around practicing whenever I could. One time the radio-station boss heard me playing my guitar in the back seat of his car. He told me to throw away the fiddle for good and he'd give me a job playing guitar.

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