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 Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie Rodgers

Original Name James
Birth
Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, USA
Death 26 May 1933 (aged 35)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, USA
Memorial ID 890 · View Source
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Musician. He was a country singer known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling and for his songs about the common man and his trials. He has been called "The Father of Country Music," "The Singing Brakeman" and "The Blue Yodeler". It's been reported that he was born on September 8, 1897 in Meridian, Mississippi. In documents signed later in life, he lists his birthplace as Geiger, Alabama, the home of his paternal grandparents. The youngest of three sons, his mother died when he was very young. Rodgers spent the next few years living with various relatives in southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama. He eventually moved to Meridian to live with his father, Aaron Rodgers, a Foreman on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Jimmie's affinity for entertaining came at an early age, and the lure of the road was irresistible to him. At thirteen he twice ran away to join traveling shows, but each time was brought back by his father, who found him a job on the railroad as a water boy. He was taught guitar by railroad workers and hoboes he ran into on a daily basis. Later, he became a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. At 27 he contracted tuberculosis, which often kept him from working. That same year he traveled to Asheville, North Carolina, where he performed for the first time on Asheville's first radio station, WWNC. He returned a few months later with a group called the Tenneva Ramblers, and secured a weekly slot on the station. A newspaper columnist in Asheville wrote, "Whoever that fellow is, he either is a winner or he is going to be." Later that year they traveled to Bristol, Tennessee to record for Victor Talking Machine Company. There was a disagreement among the band members and Jimmie was forced to record alone. He received $100 for two recordings, "The Soldier's Sweetheart," and "Sleep, Baby, Sleep." Those recordings changed music history and helped make Jimmie Rodgers an indelible name in country music. In November he traveled to Camden, New Jersey to record 4 more sides, one of which was "T for Texas," which was released as "Blue Yodel." It sold nearly half a million copies, which rocketed Rodgers into stardom. After this, he sold out shows whenever and wherever he played and recorded when and where he wanted. Within a few years, tuberculosis affected his ability to sing, however. On May 17, 1933, he returned to the studios to record what would be his last tracks. He recorded 4 songs that day and had to rest for several days to try to recover his energy. When he returned to the studio, he recorded "Years Ago." The effort exhausted him. Within 36 hours, the father of country music was dead. When the Country Music Hall of Fame was established in 1961, Rodgers was one of the first three to be inducted. Rodgers was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and, as an early influence, to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. "Blue Yodel No. 9" was selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. On May 24, 1978, the U. S. Postal Service issued a 13-cent commemorative stamp honoring Rodgers, the first in its Performing Arts Series. The 1982 film Honkytonk Man, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, was very loosely based on Rodgers' life. Rodgers was ranked #33 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003. The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation maintains the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Mississippi.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 890
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jimmie Rodgers (8 Sep 1897–26 May 1933), Find A Grave Memorial no. 890, citing Oak Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .