“Years from now, after I’m gone someone will listen to what I’ve done and know I was here. They may not know or care who I was, but they’ll hear my guitars speaking for me.” -Chet Atkins
Chet Atkins has often been credited with being “one of the key architects of the Nashville Sound“. His influence extends from the country-music realm into rock and roll, as well. As a studio musician, he appeared on records by Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, and countless country musicians. Atkins thumb-and-fingerpicking style influenced George Harrison, Duane Eddy, the Ventures, Eddie Cochran, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler, as well as innumerable country pickers. Even the likes of Ted Nugent has credited Atkins with inspiring him to take up the instrument. Some of his best work was particularly his collaborations with Les Paul (“Chester and Lester”) and Merle Travis from the mid-70s.
Atkins received numerous awards, including eleven Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993), and nine Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year awards. Billboard Magazine awarded him their Century Award, their “highest honor for distinguished creative achievement”, in December 1997. In 2002, Atkins was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Fame. His award was presented by Marty Stuart and Brian Setzer and accepted by Atkin’s Grandson, Jonathan Russell. The following year, Atkins ranked #28 in CMT’s 40 Greatest Men of Country Music. Chet passed away at 76 very full years following a long struggle with cancer, but his memory, influence and music live on.
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