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Ernest Tubb Biography

By

ernest tubb the definitive collection album cover

Ernest Tubb - 'The Definitive Collection' (2006)

Image courtesy of MCA Nashville Records

Basic Info:

  • Born: February 9, 1914
  • Birthplace: Near Crisp, Texas
  • Date of death: September 6, 1984
  • Place of death: Nashville, Tennessee

Claims to Fame:

  • Sold over a million copies of "Walking the Floor Over You."
  • Imitated the style of Jimmie Rodgers until tonsil surgery changed his voice.
  • Was the first country singer to perform at Carnegie Hall.
  • Had a total of 24 hit singles between 1949 and 1950.
  • Opened the Ernest Tubb Record Shop in Nashville where he broadcast a radio show.
  • Was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1965.

Beginnings:

Ernest Tubb was born to a family of Texas sharecroppers, and was exposed to Jimmie Rodgers at an early age. Rodgers provided a model for Tubb, who took up the guitar and learned how to mime Rodgers's famed "blue yodel." When the Depression hit, Tubb sung on the radio (though he didn't make any money at it) and earned his bread working for the WPA. In 1936, Tubb contacted Rodgers's widow for an autograph (so the story goes). Impressed by the young singer's talent, Ms. Rodgers took a professional interest in him. She coached him and helped him secure a recording contract with RCA's country division, Bluebird Records.

Stardom:

From 1937 into the '40s, Ernest Tubb toured Texas, played the radio, and released recordings that gradually won him an audience. A crucial part of his success was developing his own sound. In '39, Tubb had tonsil surgery, which impaired his ability to yodel and lowered his voice; the country singer drifted away from Rodgers songs and began to write his own material. In '41, Tubb released his biggest hit, "Walking the Floor Over You." Hollywood knocked and the next year Tubb was featured singing two songs in the Westerns Riding West and Fighting Buckaroo. In 1943, he joined the Grand Ole Opry. Ernest Tubb had arrived.

Big Man in Nashville:

Ernest Tubb was an influential figure in Nashville up until his death in 1984. He opened a record shop where he broadcast shows that helped build him a following. He also showcased artists that later became stars. Many up-and-coming singers -- including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Patsy Cline -- were aided by Tubb, who took pleasure in mentoring new talent. Tubb's influenced spread to television when, in 1965, he hosted The Ernest Tubb Show; it aired for three years. In 1980, he played himself in the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner's Daughter. He died from emphysema in 1984 at the age of 70.

Watch Ernest Tubb Videos:

Recommended Recordings:

The Definitive Collection (compare prices): This single disc collection offers a good introduction to Ernest Tubb. It features his best work, including the original version of "Walking the Floor Over You" and "Drivin' Nails in My Coffin."

Number One Country Songs:

  1. Number One Country Hits
  2. "Soldiers Last Letter" (1944)
  3. "It's Been So Long Darling" (1945)
  4. "Rainbow at Midnight" (1946)
  5. "Blue Christmas" (1949)
  6. "Slippin' Around" (1949)
  7. "Goodnight Irene" with Red Foley and The Sunshine Trio (1950)
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