Chester Burton Atkins
Chet Atkins was born in 1924 near Luttrell in Eastern Tennessee.
His father taught music and farmed. His parents divorced when he was ten and he moved to Georgia with his father. Interestingly, the man known as Mr. Guitar started out on the fiddle. Some sources say he began with a ukelele strung with wire from a screen door. While living in Georgia he became interested in the new electric guitars and played one too though he had to walk to the schoolhouse to plug it in. At 18 he was hired by a radio station and began to perform solo. By 1943 he was touring the country music circuit and in 1946 he married one of the singing Johnson Sisters. He built his career by performing with the stars of the day such as the Carter Family. In 1950 he joined the Grand Ole Opry.
Chet Atkins’ style combines elements of jazz with the more traditional country guitar, and he has appeared at jazz festivals and played at the Whitehouse. He is an icon to the guitar greats in both the country and rock genres. He has won 9 grammy awards. During the 60s he became a successful producer and a vice president at RCA. He was the youngest person to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and is one of the architects of the Nashville Sound.
He has authored a biography, written instruction books for guitar, designed guitars, performed with symphony orchestras and appeared on many TV Specials. He recorded more than 100 albums.
He passed away in 2001.