Induction Year: 1971
Birth Name: BillMonroe
Birth Date: September 13, 1911
Place of Birth: Rosine, Kentucky
Deceased: September 09, 1996
Place of Death: Springfield, TN
Bill Monroe, known as “The Father of Bluegrass,” was born on September 13, 1911 in Rosine, Kentucky. The youngest of eight children, Monroe grew up listening to folk and country music. As a child , he performed with his uncle Pendleton Vandiver at local dances. His developed his own musical style from the influences of his childhood. Bill played mandolin, fiddle, and guitar and sang.
At age 16, he moved to Chicago and started a band with his brothers Birch and Charlie. Birch soon left the band and Bill and Charlie continued on as the Monroe Brothers. In 1938, the duo broke up and Bill formed his first band The Kentuckians, which he later renamed the Blue Grass Boys.
In 1939 at the age of 28, Bill joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. He was introduced by Opry founder George D. Hay and performed the Jimmie Rogers hit “Muleskinner Blues.” That night he earned three encores and quickly became a crowd favorite on the Opry cast.
In the 1940s, Bill Monroe wrote such classic hits as “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Uncle Pen.” He added Earl Scruggs, on banjo, Lester Flatt on guitar and Chubby Wise on Fiddle to his band creating what is recognized as the most influentail bluegrass band ever.
Monroe went on to pen many songs that have become bluegrass standards including: “Get Down on Your Knees and Pray,” “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms,” “Tennessee,” “Train 45 (Heading South),” “Kentucky Waltz,” “Goodbye Ole Pal,” “I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky” and “Lonesome Road Blues.”
Over his long career, Bill Monroe received many awards and honors including the first Grammy for Bluegrass, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Honor, and the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Award. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971. Monroe is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame.
Discography / Career Highlights
1958 – Knee Deep in Bluegrass
1959 – I Saw the Light
1960 – Mr. Bluegrass
1962 – Bluegrass Ramble
1962 – My All Time Country Favorites
1964 – I’ll Meet You in Church Sunday Morning
1965 – Bluegrass Instrumentals
1966- The High Lonesome Sound of Bill Monroe
1967 – Bluegrass Time
1969 – Voice from on High
1970 – Kentucky Bluegrass
1972 – Uncle Pen
1973 – Bean Blossom
1976 – Weary Traveller
1977 – Bill Monroe Sings Bluegrass, Body and Soul
1980 – Bean Blossom ‘79
1984 – Bill Monroe & Friends
1987 – Bluegrass ‘87
1988 – Southern Flavor
1989 – Live at the Opry: Celebrating 50 Years on the Grand Ole Opry
1990 – Instrumental / Bluegrass Special
1991 – Cryin’ Holy Unto the Lord
1939 – Joined Grand Ole Opry Cast
1970 - Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
1970 - National Endowment for the Arts' Heritage Award
1989 – First Ever Grammy Award for Bluegrass for album Southern Flavor
1993 – Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award
1995 - Awarded National Medal of Honor by President Clinton
1997 – Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – post-posthumously.