back to profile

Chet Atkins


1924

Chet Atkins is born in Luttrell, Tennessee.

1946

Chet Atkins makes his first recording, “Guitar Blues,” for Bullet Records.

1947

Chet Atkins is signed to RCA Records as a solo artist. Two years later, he becomes the label’s premiere session guitarist, too.

1954

Chet Atkins’ debut album, ‘Chet Atkins’ Gallopin’ Guitar,’ is released on RCA.

1956

Chet Atkins plays guitar on “Heartbreak Hotel,” Elvis Presley’s RCA debut single.

1957

Having been promoted to RCA’s manager of operations, Chet Atkins persuades the label to build its own office and studio in Nashville. The result is the world-famous RCA Studio B, a.k.a. “the house that Chet built.”

1957

Chet Atkins plays guitar at the first sessions for his proteges, the Everly Brothers, resulting in such hits as “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie.”

1958

Chet Atkins produces Don Gibson’s double-sided smash, “Oh Lonesome Me” b/w “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” often cited as the point of origin for the new “Nashville Sound.”

1960

Chet Atkins’ ‘Teensville,’ comprising instrumental versions of rock and roll songs, enters the album chart, where it will peak at #16.

1961

Chet Atkins’ highest-charting album, ‘Chet Atkins’ Workshop’ (#7), is released.

1973

At age 49, Chet Atkins become the youngest inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

1980

Chet Atkins parts ways with RCA Records after 30 years. He signs with Columbia Records, for which he will record six albums.

1990

‘Neck and Neck,’ an album of guitar duets by Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler, enters the album chart. It will become Atkins’ highest-charting release since 1966.

2001

Chet Atkins dies of lung cancer at home in Nashville.

2002

Chet Atkins is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the seventeenth annual induction dinner. Marty Suart is his presenter.

Chet Atkins