It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora One subscription will expire shortly.
close
Your Pandora One trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora One.
Close
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
-0:00
0:00
Change Skin

We created Pandora to put the Music Genome Project directly in your hands

It’s a new kind of radio –
stations that play only music you like

 
Create an account for free. Register
Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

Chet Atkins & Les Paul

Without Chet Atkins, country music may never have crossed over into the pop charts in the '50s and '60s. Although he recorded hundreds of solo records, Atkins' largest influence came as a session musician and a record producer. During the '50s and '60s, he helped create the Nashville sound, a style of country music that owed nearly as much to pop as it did to honky tonks.

And as a guitarist, he was without parallel. Atkins' style grew out of his admiration for Merle Travis, expanding Travis' signature syncopated thumb and fingers roll into new territory. Interestingly, Atkins didn't begin his musical career by playing guitar. On the recommendation of his older brother, Lowell, he began playing the fiddle at a child. However, Chet was still attracted to the guitar, and at the age of nine he traded a pistol for a guitar. Atkins learned his instrument rapidly, becoming an accomplished player by the time he left high school in 1941. Using a variety of contacts, he wound up performing on the Bill Carlisle Show on WNOX in Knoxville, TN, as well as becoming part of the Dixie Swingers. Atkins worked with Homer & Jethro while he was at the radio station. After three years, he moved to a radio station in Cincinnati.

Supporting Red Foley, Atkins made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. That same year, he made his first records, recording for Bullet. Atkins also began making regular performances on the WRVA radio station in Richmond, VA, but he was repeatedly fired because his musical arrangements differed from the expectations of the station's executives. He eventually moved to Springfield, MO, working for the KWTO station. A tape of one of Atkins' performances was sent to RCA Victor's office in Chicago. Eventually, it worked its way to Steve Sholes, the head of country music at RCA. Sholes had heard Atkins previously, and had been trying to find him for several years. By the time Sholes heard the tape, Atkins had moved to Denver, and was playing with Shorty Thompson & His Rangers. Upon receiving the call from RCA, he moved to Nashville to record.

Once he arrived in Nashville, Atkins recorded eight tracks for the label, five of which featured the guitarist singing. Impressed by his playing, Sholes made Atkins the studio guitarist for all of the RCA studio's Nashville sessions in 1949. The following year, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters hired him as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, making his place in Nashville's musical community secure. While he worked for RCA, he played on many hit records and helped fashion the Nashville sound. RCA appreciated his work and made him a consultant to the company's Nashville division in 1953. That year, the label began to issue a number of instrumental albums that showcased Atkins' considerable talents. Two years later, he scored his first hit with a version of "Mr. Sandman"; it was followed by "Silver Bell," a duet with Hank Snow. By the late '50s, Atkins was known throughout the music industry as a first-rate player. Not only did his records sell well, he designed guitars for Gibson and Gretsch; the popularity of these models continues to the present day.

Sholes left for New York in 1957 to act as head of pop A&R, leaving Atkins as the manager of RCA's Nashville division. However, the guitarist didn't abandon performing, and throughout the early '60s his star continued to rise. He played the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960; in 1961, he performed at the White House. Atkins had his first Top Five hit in 1965 with a reworking of Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax," retitled "Yakety Axe"; in addition to being a sizable country hit, the song crossed over to the pop charts. Atkins' role behind the scenes was thriving as well. He produced hits for the majority of RCA's Nashville acts, including Elvis Presley and Eddy Arnold, and discovered a wealth of talent, including Don Gibson, Waylon Jennings, Floyd Cramer, Charley Pride, Bobby Bare, and Connie Smith. Because of his consistent track record, Atkins was promoted to vice president of RCA's country division when Sholes died in 1968.

The following year, Atkins had his last major hit single, "Country Gentleman." In the late '60s and early '70s, several minor hits followed, but only one song, "Prissy" (1968), made it into the Top 40. Instead, the guitarist's major musical contribution in the early part of the '70s was with Homer & Jethro. Under the name the Nashville String Band, the trio released five albums between 1970 and 1972. Following Homer's death, Atkins continued to work with Jethro.

Atkins continued to record for RCA throughout the '70s, although he was creatively stifled by the label by the end of the decade. The guitarist wanted to record a jazz album, but he was met with resistance by the label. In 1982, he left the label and signed with Columbia, releasing his first album for the label, Work It Out With Chet Atkins, in 1983. During his time at Columbia, Atkins departed from his traditional country roots, demonstrating that he was a bold and tasteful jazz guitarist as well. He did return to country on occasion, particularly on duet albums with Mark Knopfler and Jerry Reed, but by and large, Atkins' Columbia records demonstrated a more adventurous guitarist than was previously captured on his RCA albums.

Sadly, Atkins was diagnosed with cancer, and in 1997 doctors removed a tumor from his brain. In his last months, the cancer had made Atkins inactive, and he finally lost the battle on June 30, 2001, at his home in Nashville. Throughout his career, Chet Atkins earned numerous awards, including 11 Grammy awards and nine CMA Instrumentalist of the Year honors, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from NARAS. Although his award list is impressive, it only begins to convey his contribution to country music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

In the next world, there will be only Chet and friends. Wayne Patton
Great fingering from Les Paul cant forget the way he plays solo but then there Chet he is a unforgetable . They both really compliment each other the best in the world in my opinion.
Isnt it great to listen to Artists like these. :o))
My Favorites forever they are just the best. I have many of Les Pauls Abums. He sounds lots better here than on a old 33. I have a track with them both talking while they are playin very funny they really were having fun, just how can you play the guitar and talk nonshaluntly quite a feat in my opinion. That particular track was with Les and Chester too.
I only had one opportunity to here Chet play and that was live with Mark Knopfler. A Saturday afternoon outdoor show on a field in Winston Salem, NC Within a minute after the start we knew we were hearing something rare and very very special. They played and played and played and we stood and sat in silence listening to the masters at work. Moved me to tears !

George munford
A nice long bio for Chet & bupkis for Les Paul? I can understand that the automagic process picks one artist for the bio, but ...
Les isn't even in the Similar Artists list - what gives there?
Chester & Lester - it don't get no better!
Pandora: Why does the bio for Chet Atkins & Les Paul not mention Les Paul at all? Come on!
two of the best........ e v e r !
phantomcreek r a n c h
Thanks to Glenn Murray for reminding me what amazing & timeless guitar masters these gentlemen were. And thanks, Pandora! :-)
the best ever...RIP
nosnotna
Absolutly the best for Pandora, thanks and God Bless you all
guitar at its best.....man y thanks pandora
ronfleonard4 2 9
what I wouldnt give....just for myself
Chester & Lester - it doesn't get any better folks!
Yes, many thanks, Pandora, for putting this one together! Jim-willy said it well, as many of you. I love all your comments on this terrific 'Country Gentleman. He was the best of all. Rest in Peace, Chet.
These guys are finger-picki n ' great. I never get tired ig listening to them.
cheadler
Great is too small of a word to describe these artists.
they are great!!!!

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[80, 94, 119, 89, 114, 82, 122, 91, 101, 81, 115, 77, 71, 119, 84, 87, 126, 111, 104, 69, 114, 109, 76, 117, 74, 99, 78, 125, 123, 96, 68, 111, 86, 124, 79, 75, 78, 78, 110, 124, 74, 89, 112, 86, 87, 117, 117, 119, 105, 103, 76, 71, 79, 118, 85, 124, 95, 90, 84, 94, 118, 73, 116, 71, 91, 106, 102, 73, 113, 96, 102, 94, 111, 108, 99, 109, 89, 88, 113, 107, 105, 78, 64, 91, 126, 98, 65, 102, 121, 110, 97, 112, 111, 84, 104, 96, 79, 123, 110, 92, 91, 117, 97, 125, 96, 67, 86, 81, 94, 114, 123, 83, 114, 88, 75, 86, 87, 126, 69, 112, 114, 92, 101, 103, 81, 117, 81, 118, 115, 96, 89, 89, 66, 100, 70, 122, 79, 93, 65, 123, 66, 95, 70, 108, 98, 126, 94, 108, 83, 113, 85, 89, 74, 117, 106, 71, 97, 67, 75, 102, 84, 64, 112, 102, 71, 96, 125, 93, 109, 121, 64, 65, 112, 110, 68, 100, 125, 77, 122, 116, 68, 116, 107, 104, 109, 122, 99, 64, 72, 127, 75, 78, 103, 74, 97, 123, 103, 110, 71, 91, 75, 81, 107, 114, 82, 81, 127, 126, 79, 64, 88, 105, 88, 71, 75, 76, 87, 117, 119, 76, 65, 106, 68, 71, 92, 84, 118, 103, 115, 111, 96, 95, 103, 108, 65, 73, 111, 104, 100, 118, 92, 116, 73, 127, 120, 85, 115, 71, 103, 81, 103, 127, 87, 80, 83, 118, 86, 117, 66, 76, 125, 92, 87, 91, 112, 112, 103, 82, 101, 77, 122, 125, 65, 103, 100, 66, 105, 91, 68, 113, 79, 113, 98, 80, 64, 97, 87, 127, 87, 110, 115, 95, 87, 104, 120, 72, 125, 81, 65, 109, 91, 66, 70, 113, 94, 88, 96, 78, 79, 126, 85, 71, 107, 118, 123, 81, 83, 121, 83, 69, 83, 75, 97, 95, 67, 75, 112, 73, 68, 120, 105, 125, 82, 96, 82, 112, 111, 111, 64, 69, 113, 98, 72, 87, 64, 86, 78, 105, 84, 122, 124, 89, 124, 84, 126, 88, 112, 114, 121, 105, 115, 74, 106, 118, 101, 96, 107, 94, 116, 69, 110, 103, 95, 110, 127, 108, 96, 89, 66, 120, 87, 85, 85, 103, 103, 122, 67, 79, 112, 94, 67, 65, 84, 106, 111, 92, 109, 109, 126, 82, 68, 115, 99, 97, 88, 89, 92, 100, 111, 105, 123, 125, 75, 103, 110, 93, 116, 78, 127, 70, 123, 95, 108, 65, 79, 88, 106, 92, 89, 81, 108, 113, 108, 66, 66, 66, 80, 87, 89, 66, 82, 68, 108, 100, 67, 125, 125, 80, 84, 116, 97, 100, 95, 76, 106, 81, 126, 72, 109, 86, 93, 99, 64, 108, 65, 102, 64, 104, 125, 91, 110, 98, 127, 71, 91, 92, 120, 117, 79, 79, 70, 104, 100, 114, 74, 72, 77, 104, 84, 95, 69, 70, 94, 85, 84, 112, 118, 85, 121, 82, 124, 121, 83, 116, 123, 93, 124, 81, 72, 70, 87, 66]