Horton Group headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, known around the world as Music City USA. We moved to Tennessee in 1986 when a new downtown convention center was ramping up, a new airport was in the works and everyone played their favorite music on cassette tapes. Almost twenty-five years later Nashville is ramping up for a bigger better downtown convention center, we have two downtown sports venues for our beloved professional sports teams, and everyone downloads their favorite music from the internet.
When the city of Nashville was born in the late 1700’s it was little more than a fort nestled up against the Cumberland River. For decades it grew and developed like any other city, remaining largely under the radar while slowly developing its reputation as one of America’s musical capitals. In the 1920’s Nashville’s fame exploded, fueled by music and good old human determination. Today, Nashville is known as Music City, U.S.A. It is the birthplace of country music and Al Gore, and it is the location where many artists saw the realization of their dreams.
Nashville’s reputation as Music City started, oddly enough, in the insurance industry. The National Life and Accident Insurance Company came up with the idea to use radio as a way to advertise. In October 1925, the company’s radio station, WSM, went on air for the first time. George Hay quickly became their radio announcer. Within a few years the WSM had transformed from barn dance radio to the Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry became extremely popular, bringing thousands across the country to Nashville to witness the show.
While the Grand Ole Opry was a catalyst for Nashville’s jump into music, it wasn’t the only major event to shape the industry or the city. The 40’s and 50’s saw a huge movement of the city into music. By this time the Grand Ole Opry was so popular it had to change venues. It was moved to the Ryman Auditorium, which earned the nickname ‘The Mother Church of Country Music’. Music Row in Nashville also began to form as record labels and recording studios began popping up. Castle Studio, Nashville’s first recording studio, was created, and Capital Records moved their director of country music to the city. Perhaps the most notable event was the opening of RCA Studio B, which recorded the works of Elvis, Willie Nelson, Skeeter David, and Dolly Parton. By the end of the 50’s Nashville’s reputation as Music City was pretty much set in stone.
Country music is the industry that Nashville is most recognized for, but it isn’t the only item of note to come out of this area. Country music star Bill Monroe started another musical style, and is now known as the Father of Bluegrass Music. Christian music, blues music, jazz music, pop music and rock music have vibrant communities in the Nashville area.
The food industry did not remain untouched either. Jimmy Dean, a famous country music star, found a passion for the sausage business, and Maxwell House Coffee was locally produced and served in the Maxwell House Hotel. Today it is served everywhere but the hotel.Andrew Jackson and James Polk, both American Presidents, and Al Gore, who was also awarded a Nobel Prize for his environmental work, were born in this city.
Nashville has become one of the major tourist attractions of America. People from all over the world come to visit the city. Here they can see the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, and the studio where Elvis, the King, recorded his first record. In the same city they can experience American history, visiting places that may once have been the haunts of three American leaders. Nashville has effectively made its impact on the country and the world.