Est. 1997

Portrait of Billie Holiday, Downbeat New York, N.Y., ca. Feb. 1947 by William P. Gottlieb


On April 26, 1941, Ernest Tubb recorded his song Walking the Floor Over You in a Fort Worth, Texas recording studio. He was from San Antonio, Texas. His band, the first Texas Troubadours were from Gadsden, Alabama. The Texas Troubadour opened the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and The Midnite Jamboree radio program in 1947.

On behalf of the Library of Congress, Alan Lomax went to Stovall, Mississippi in August 1941 to record country blues musicians. "He brought his stuff down and recorded me right in my house and when he played back the first song I sounded just like anybody's records. Man, you don't know how I felt that Saturday afternoon when I heard that voice and it was my own voice. Later on he sent me two copies of the pressing and a check for twenty bucks, and I carried that record up to the corner and put it on the jukebox. Just played it and played it and said, 'I can do it, I can do it'." - Muddy Waters, Rolling Stone.

FM radio as we know it began in 1941. That's when the first commercial FM station went on the air -- W47NV in Nashville. FM -- standing for frequency modulation -- was first proposed in a scientific paper written by Edwin Armstrong in 1922. By 1934, he demonstrated how FM was unaffected by static, unlike all the radio stations then on the air, which used AM or amplitude modulation. Critics said the idea was impractical. World War II interrupted the advance of FM broadcasting, which slowly began to gain popularity in the 1950s. Radio Stars never sounded better.

First Gold Record: The idea of awarding performers a gold record for a big selling performance dates back to this week in 1942. During a live radio broadcast, surprised band leader Glenn Miller was given the first gold record for his million selling hit, "Chattanooga Choo Choo." The award wasn't revived until 1958, for Perry Como's single "Catch a Falling Star." The first award for an album was the cast recording of the musical "Oklahoma."

South Carolina native Dizzy Gillespie began an innovative style of trumpet performance that would come to be called BeBop.

Rocky Mount, North Carolina native Thelonious Monk contributed to the birth of Bebop.

Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943.

Sonny Boy Williamson was one of the most influential harmonica players in blues history.  He was the blues first radio star on "The King Biscuit Time" in Helena, Arkansas.

Louis Jordan,"Father of Rhythm and Blues," had his first million-seller with "Is You Is or Is You Ain't Ma Baby?

Nashville was beginning to emerge as a center for country recording. Chet Atkins played a major role in the development of the Nashville music industry.

The Lucky Millinder didn't play an instrument and couldn't read music but he played a crucial role in the early development of jump blues. 

The Louisiana Hayride began their Saturday night broadcast from the Municipal Auditorium Shreveport, Louisiana on April 3, 1948.

Atlantic Records was founded in 1947. Click here to watch a short history of Atlantic Jazz.

On  June 11, 1949, Hank Williams made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry.

Adrian Belew: The Twang Bar King was born December 23, 1949, Covington, Kentucky

45 rpm Records: The sound recording business became more complicated in 1949 -- when RCA unveiled the 45 rpm record. So-called "long-play" recordings, either 10 or 12 inches and turning at 33 rpm, had been around for a few years, but older, 78 rpm technology was still used for recording single musical selections. Seven-inch 45s soon took over the pop single market and were the favorite of teenagers across the country. Radio Stars rejoiced.

February 6, 1949: Ed Sullivan Show presents W.C. Handy.

The 1950s get all the glory when it comes to the early days of Rock n Roll but Roy Brown recorded Good Rocking Tonight in 1947 and Fats Domino recorded The Fat Man by in 1949 at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Recording Studio in New Orleans, Louisiana.

By Carl P. McConnell