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Chet Atkins

Age: 77

virtuosic guitar player and record producer who helped to make Nashville the epicenter of country music in the 1950s. Known as the “Country Gentleman,” Atkins gained fame in the 1940s, performing with the Carter Family in the Grand Ole Opry. As an executive with RCA, Atkins produced recordings by Hank Snow, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, and Charley Pride. When interest in country music began to wane, Atkins was influential in adapting the genre to appeal to the growing base of rock-and-roll fans.

Died: Nashville, June 30, 2001

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