Timeline of Country Music in America

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1940s - Spade Cooley - Shame On You
1950s - Hank Williams - Jambalaya
1960s - Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
1970s - Willie Nelson - Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
1980s - Eddie Rabbitt - Drivin' My Life Away
1990s - Shania Twain - You're Still The One
2000s - Tracy Byrd - Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo
1940s - Al Dexter - Rosalita
1950s - Hank Snow - Let Me Go, Lover
1960s - Roger Miller - King of The Road
1970s - Glen Campbell - Southern Nights
1980s - Alabama - Mountain Music
1990s - Trisha Yearwood - Perfect Love
2000s - Rascal Flatts - Life Is A Highway
1940s - Ernest Tubb - Rainbow At Midnight
1950s - Hank Thompson - The Wild Side of Life
1960s - Dave Dudley - Six Days On The Road
1970s - Waylon Jennings - Good Hearted Woman
1980s - Restless Heart - I'll Still Be Loving You
1990s - Garth Brooks - Two Pina Coladas
2000s - Keith Urban - Better Life
1940s - Red Foley - Smoke On The Water
1950s - Eddy Arnold - Kentucky Waltz
1960s - Merle Haggard - Mama Tried
1970s - Kenny Rogers - The Gambler
1980s - Dolly Parton - 9 To 5
1990s - Alan Jackson - Summertime Blues
2000s - Kenny Chesney - Summertime

Country music was popularized by the Grand Ole Opry, America's first national radio show in the 1920s. Nashville, which had been an epicenter for bluegrass music, became the official capital of the country music world, creating a huge base of music from a short list of musicians, although several country artists have enjoyed longevity over the decades. Some of the early stars of country music were The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Hank Williams helped popularize the genre in the early fifties, injecting a heavy influence of twang in the mainstream.

The genre has remained big throughout most of its history. In the 2010s country music is heard on more American radio stations than any other music format. It is particularly concentrated in the south, but has become a staple format in many major markets throughout the nation. The genre has stayed close to its roots most of its history but starting in the 1990s, a slicker and more polished sound began to characterize the format.

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