Tennessee Ernie Ford

Tennessee Ernie Ford


2/13/1919, Bristol, Tennessee, USA



Birth Name

Ernest Jennings Ford



Also Known As

Tennessee Ernie, Ernie Ford
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Gifted recording artist, Tennessee Ernie Ford with his deep baritone voice began his career as a radio announcer. He served in World War II and after the war he resumed his career in radio. He was the country music disc jockey on the radio program "Bar Nothin' Ranch…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • When he received his Presidential Medal of Freedom, the citation read this: "America is a nation richer in spirit because of Tennessee Ernie Ford."

    • Ernie was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1994.

    • Ernie's album "Great Gospel Songs" was awarded a Grammy in 1964.

    • One of Ernie's nicknames was "The Ol' Pea-Picker," because he often used the phrase, "Bless your pea-pickin' heart!"

    • Ernie made up the personality "Tennessee Ernie" while working as a radio announcer in San Bernardino, hosting a program titled "Bar Nothin' Ranch."

    • Ernie reached the rank of First Lieutenant when he was in the military.

    • Ernie served in the military during World War II. He flew flying missions in a B-29 Superfortress over Japan.

    • Ernie started his career as a radio announcer in Bristol, TN at station WOPI.

    • On March 26th, 1984, President Ronald Reagan presented Ernie with The Presidential Medal of Freedom; the highest honor a sitting President can bestow upon a civilian on behalf of his country.

    • Ernie's Great Gospel Songs LP with The Jordanaires was 1964's Grammy winner for Best Inspirational Recording.

    • Ernie passed away October 17th, 1991; thirty-six years to the day after the release of Sixteen Tons.

    • In September of 1991, Ernie taped an extended television interview in Los Angeles with his long-time friend, Dinah Shore. Sadly, it was to be his last television appearance.

    • Over the years, Ernie has sold more than 60 million records worldwide. Most notably more than 40 million of that number represent the body of work he became best known for...gospel, hymns and spirituals.

    • Ernie Ford's early successes as a radio personality led to his signing with Capitol Records in 1949.

    • Ernie owned a cattle ranch in California.

    • Ernie was educated at the Cincinnati Conservatory.

    • Ernie's Star on the Walk of Fame for his contribution to Television is located at 6311 Hollywood Blvd. He also has two other stars: One for his contribution to radio, and the other for his contribution to the record industry.

    • In 1955, Ernie was nominated for an Emmy for Most Outstanding New Personality.

    • Ernie used his influence to give many young performers their first break in show business, including San Francisco-area disk jockey turned TV personality Jim Lange (later of The Dating Game), and most notably, the singing duo the Everly Brothers.

    • Ernie's book Tennessee Ernie Ford's Book of Favorite Hymns was a best-seller in its fleid when it was published in 1962, and a companion record album on Capitol Records was released later that same year.

    • Ernie was the father of actor Buck Ford.

    • Ernie's biggest hit "Sixteen Tons" was credited as being the first Rock & Roll big hit and for kicking off the Rock and Roll era of the Fifties.

    • Ernie's popular TV program The Ford Show was not named after him, although many assumed so, but after his sponsor, the Ford Motor Company.

    • Ernie made the first tour of the Soviet Union with a country-western stage show (including Roy Clark) in 1974.

    • Ernie's album Hymns (1956) was on the USA Billboard Album charts for 350 consecutive weeks.

    • Ernie's remains are buried at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto, California. His wife, Beverly Wood Ford, was buried next to him following her death in 2001.

    • Ernie was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990.

    • Ernie was married to Betty Heminger from September 1942 until her death in 1989.

  • Quotes

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