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Chet Atkins

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Artist's Top Tracks

Mister Sandman Chet Atkins 02:17
Michelle Chet Atkins 02:46
Poor Boy Blues Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler 04:01
The Next Time I'm In Town Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler 03:21
Jam Man Chet Atkins 03:19
Back Up and Push Chet Atkins 02:11
My Song Chet Atkins 05:07
Yakety Axe Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler 03:24
Sunrise Chet Atkins, George Benson 04:06
There'll Be Some Changes Made Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler 06:27

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Biography

Born into a poor family in small town Lutrell, Tennessee, Chet Atkins suffered severely from asthma as a child but found solace in his first guitar he swapped with his brother for a pistol. Forced to sleep upright in a chair because of his condition, he'd play himself to sleep, clutching the bowed and broken down instrument all night and playing all day long when he woke. Inspired by Merle Travis, he developed a unique finger picking style and built his reputation as a session player for local radio stations, but kept getting fired for "not sounding country enough". Atkins earned a deal with RCA, with whom he became studio guitarist for all the label's country artists, before releasing a number of instrumental albums and scoring his first big hit with Mr Sandman in 1954. He eventually became vice-president of the label's country division, where he was credited with defining the Nashville Sound and bringing the genre to a pop audience by signing Willy Nelson, Dolly Parton and Waylon Jennings. As an artist his biggest hit came in 1965 with Yakety Axe, but his guitar genius and mix of jazz and country styles helped him win 14 Grammy Awards; including four for different collaborations with Mark Knopfler, Jerry Reed, Merle Travis and Les Paul. Atkins worked with manufacturers Gretsch in developing a line of Chet Atkins electric guitars, awarded himself the honorary title of CGP (Certified Guitar Player) and stands as one of the most influential musicians of his era. He died in 2001 aged 77 from cancer and was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.