Country music star Chet Atkins's finger-picking guitar career lasted for half a century. In the early 1950s he moved to Nashville and his first album, Chet Atkins' Gallopin' Guitar
, came out in 1953. His career flourished and he became known as "Mr. Guitar" for his distinctively clean, relaxed and even jazzy sound. He also was hired by R.C.A. to help run their operations and produce the records of other country performers. He oversaw construction of R.C.A.'s famous Studio B, and helped create a new, more sophisticated take on country music -- the so-called "Nashville Sound." By the 1960s he was juggling his own surging career, producing other artists like Waylon Jennings and Charlie Pride, and was made a vice president at R.C.A. In 1973 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In later years he became a revered elder statesman of country music, continuing to play and record nearly until his death in 2001. His many albums included Down Home
(1961), Chet Atkins Picks on The Beatles
(1966), and Read My Licks
(1994). He also recorded duet albums with other guitarists, including Chester and Lester
(1975, with Les Paul
) and Neck and Neck
(1990, with Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits).