Bill Monroe

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


Career Highlights

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.


© 2008-2013 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.     Site by Richlyn Marketing.