Terrific Tennessee Ernie Ford
By: Legacy Staff
5 years ago
Tennessee Ernie Ford was a country and western star who enjoyed crossover success, thanks to a unique sound that set his songs apart from the rest of the music on the top of the 1950s charts. While most of the hottest artists of his day were singing strings-heavy pop or the earliest rock 'n' roll songs, Ford gave us a stripped-down arrangement of a coal mining song – and he dominated both the country and pop charts with it.
That song was “Sixteen Tons,” and Ford’s 1955 version of it held the No. 1 spot on both charts for several months. Much of the music it was up against was bouncy and carefree, but “Sixteen Tons” was no bubblegum pop song. It was heavy music about a somber subject, and it captured the hearts of radio listeners.
Also popular on both charts – and with kids across the country who’d caught Davy Crockett fever – was Ford’s recording of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”
Ford would have turned 94 years old today. We wish we could extend a happy birthday wish to him, but it’s been more than 20 years since he died at age 72. The 1950s loved Tennessee Ernie Ford, and we love him too.