Roy Acuff

Roy Acuff
PHOTO: Country Music Foundation


In the 1940s and 1950s few Americans were better known than Maynardville, Tennessee, native Roy Acuff.

He started as a baseball player, but then a bout of sunstroke cut short his career, and he began playing the fiddle.

In 1934, Acuff started going on radio shows on stations such as Nashville’s WSM (the home of the Grand Ole Opry). With the release of songs such as “The Great Speckled Bird” and “The Wabash Cannonball” he became nationally famous. And, with a great sense of humor, Acuff eventually became the host of the Grand Ole Opry, which he did on and off for much of his life.

You can read a lot about Roy Acuff at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris.

In 1948 Roy Acuff ran for governor of Tennessee and got the Republican nomination, but didn’t win the general election.

Acuff remained active in country music through his 80s and died in 1992.