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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 13 September 1911Rosine, Kentucky, USA
Date of Death 9 September 1996Nashville, Tennessee, USA  (stroke)
Birth NameWilliam Smith Monroe
Nickname The Father of Bluegrass

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Rosine Kentucky, he was the youngest of eight children. Orphaned at age 11 he was raised by his uncle, fiddler Pendleton Vandiver. Learning the fiddle from his mother and taught further by his uncle, at an early age he began playing dances with uncle and brothers. Besides his uncle (whom he immortalized in the song "Unlce Pen") his musical inspiration was Arnold Schultz, a black guitarist from whom he learned the blues. By the early 1930s he and his brother Charlie had a successful duo, cutting their first record in 1936, but in 1938 they broke up. In the late 1930s, the first person to make the mandolin a lead instrument in country music, he developed the style that became bluegrass. In has debut at the Grand Old Opry in 1939 he performed a version of 'Rodgers, Jimmy (II)' tune "Muleskinner Blues" - this is generally considered the first true bluegrass tune. In the classic band The Bluegrass Boys in the late 1940s he set an instrumental standard for bluegrass that still stands. In later years, with the explosion of interest in bluegrass on college campuses, he began an expanded career with festival appearances. In 1981, battling colon cancer, he wrote and recorded "My Last Days on Earth" - those last days lasted another 15 years.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bruce Cameron <dumarest@midcoast.com>

Spouse (2)

Della Streeter (? - 9 September 1996) (his death)
Carolyn (? - ?) (divorced)

Trivia (8)

Considered the "Father of Bluegrass". The term bluegrass came from the name of Monroe's band -- the Blue Grass Boys.
Performed in the White House for four presidents.
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970.
In 1989 won the first Grammy ever given for bluegrass music for his album "Southern Flavor".
Received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
His band was called "The Bluegrass Boys" in tribute to his home state of Kentucky, the bluegrass state - the music took its designation from the band.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 (under the category Early Influence).
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 419-420. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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