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Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe - Father of Bluegrass Music

Bill Monroe - Father of Bluegrass Music

September 13, 1911 - September 9, 1996.

Born on a farm in Rosine, Kentucky, Bill Monroe (William Smith Monroe) grew up to be the acknowledged creator of, and rightly referred to throughout his career as the Father of Bluegrass Music, a style of music that takes its name from his band The Bluegrass Boys, although it was others who coined the term, and not Monroe.

Influenced early in his development by his fiddle playing uncle Pendleton Vandiver ("Uncle Pen") and Arnold Schultz, a black country blues player, Monroe developed into a legendary singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and band leader. His legacy and influence in music is one that is matched by few.

A member of the Grand Ole Opry from 1939 to his passing in 1996, Monroe's band members make up a literal Who's Who of bluegrass music, including but not limited to: Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Carter Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Chubby Wise, Peter Rowan, Byron Berline, Del McCoury, Sonny Osborne, Don Reno, Vassar Clements and many, many more.

Bill Monroe has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Honor, and is the only individual to be inducted into all three.

Monroe's famous July 9, 1923 Lloyd Loar mandolin, purchased from a barber shop early in his career stayed with him throughout his life and is credited for helping shape the sound of bluegrass music. The popularity of the F5 mandolin shape and sound continues to influence mandolin builders to this day. On November 13, 1985, the mandolin was beaten to splinters by a vandal and subsequently re-assembled by Gibson employee Charlie Derrington. It remained Monroe's primary instrument up to his last live performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

Monroe's mandolin currently resides on display in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Additional information:
Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass
Come Hither to Go Yonder: Playing Bluegrass with Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe - 16 Gems
The Music of Bill Monroe
A Virtual Visit To The Resting Place of Bill Monroe
See: List of all suggested Bill Monroe books

Authored by: Mandolin Cafe

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