Vintage photos of country music artists before they were very famous
Have you ever wondered what your favorite country stars looked like before they rose to fame? You are about to find out!
Singer “I will always love you” and “Jolene” Dolly Parton is a country music legend who has been nominated for dozens of Grammys. She starred in the movie 9 to 5, had a hit song of the same name and co-owns a Tennessee theme park named Dollywood. She is pictured here alongside Porter Wagoner circa 1967 before her career really took off.
Although you can still find people insisting the King is still alive, the country and rock icon died in 1977. Pictured is a photo of Presley around 1953 before he became a sensation international.
Johnny Cash, aka “The Man in Black,” was a country legend with hits like “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line.” Towards the end of his career, Cash covered haunting versions of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”. Pictured is an early Johnny Cash publicity still from 1955, the same year he made his first recordings at Sun Records.
Singer and activist Willie Nelson is one of the most recognizable faces in country music. Two of her most famous songs are “On the Road Again” and “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”. Nelson has appeared in over 30 films and is an advocate for biofuels and the legalization of pot. Pictured is Nelson (second from left) circa 1955 performing with a band in Texas.
Merle Haggard’s latest recording, “Kern River Blues”, describes her disenchantment with politicians. He died in 2016 at the age of 79. Pictured is Merle Haggard in a publicity portrait for Tally Records in 1961 before she had hit songs.
Waylon Jennings composed the theme song for The Dukes of Hazard TV show. The “good old boy” died in 2002 at the age of 64. Pictured is Jennings while broadcasting his radio show at KLLL in Lubbock, Texas in 1958.
Bill Monroe helped create the style of music known as bluegrass. His group, the Blue Grass Boys, is named after his home state of Kentucky. Monroe died in 1996 at the age of 84. Pictured, left, is Bill Monroe alongside his brother Charlie in 1936, the same year Bill got his first recording contract.
People forget that to promote her 2006 debut album, Taylor Swift opened up to other established country artists such as Brad Paisley to gain exposure. She is pictured here in 2006 at the 41st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Today, his music is decidedly more pop than country.
Rosanne Cash is the eldest daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash, though that didn’t help her get her 1978 self-titled debut album released in the US…or anywhere other than Germany. She released her most commercially successful song, “Seven Year Ache,” in 1981, the same year this photo was taken.