History

Celebrate Ernest Tubb’s Birthday by Remembering His Honky-Tonk Legacy

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Ernest Tubb, the Texas Troubadour, would have turned 102 today, February 9, were he still alive. Let’s take a moment to remember his career that sparked the rise of honky-tonk music across the U.S.

Truly a Texan for life, Tubb was born on a cotton farm and spent the early part of his years working on farms and teaching himself to play the guitar. He worked for two different radio stations, one in San Antonio and the other in San Angelo, before he wrote a fateful letter one day.

He admired Jimmie Rodgers’s song and style while he was learning how to play, and one day reached out to Rodger’s widow in 1936 to ask for an autographed picture. With it came a relationship that would soon help him land his first RCA recording contract.

He catapulted to stardom in 1941 with his hit song, “Walkin’ the Floor Over You”. This was the single that launched the musical genre that we all know and love: honky-tonk. In 1943, he joined the Grand Ole Opry and brought with him an electric guitar, becoming the first person to play one on-stage.

In 1947, he was the first country singer to play at Carnegie Hall in New York City and he became a true icon for the rural American with tunes that struck a chord with audiences across the country. He had over 30 chart-topping singles for the following two decades, such as “Waltz Across Texas”.

His legacy can be seen coursing through the veins of country music today, and though he passed in 1984, he is gone, but certainly not forgotten. Here is the iconic hit that started it all, “Walking the Floor Over You”. Happy birthday, Ernest!