Country Music Legend of the Week, Ernest Tubb [VIDEOS]
Ernest Dale Tubb (February 9, 1914 – September 6, 1984), nicknamed the Texas Troubadour, was one of the pioneers of country music.
His biggest career hit song, “Walking the Floor Over You” (1941), marked the rise of the honky tonk style of music.
In 1948, he was the first singer to record a hit version of “Blue Christmas”, a song more commonly associated with Elvis Presley and his mid-1950s version.
Another well-known Tubb hit was “Waltz Across Texas” (1965), which became one of his most requested songs and is often used in dance halls throughout Texas during waltz lessons.
Tubb recorded duets with the then up-and-coming Loretta Lynn in the early 1960s, including their hit “Sweet Thang”. Tubb is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Tubb never possessed the best voice and actually mocked his own singing. He told an interviewer that 95 percent of the men in bars would hear his music on the juke box and say to their girlfriends, “I can sing better than him,” and Tubb added they would be right.
In fact, he missed some notes horribly on some recordings. When Tubb was recording “You Don’t Have to Be a Baby to Cry” in 1949 and tried to hit a low note, Red Foley, his duet partner at the time, was sitting in the booth when somebody said, “I bet you wish you could hit that low note.” Foley replied, “I bet Ernest wishes he could hit that note.” The two, who released seven albums together, maintained a friendly on-air “feud” over the years, and Tubb appeared on Foley’s Ozark Jubilee on ABC-TV.
In 1957, he walked into the National Life building’s lobby in Nashville and fired a .357 magnum, intending to shoot music producer Jim Denny. Tubb shot at the wrong man but did not hit anyone. He was arrested and charged with public drunkenness.
In the 1960s, Tubb was well known for having one of the best bands in country music history. The band included lightning-fingered Leon Rhodes, who later appeared on TV’s Hee Haw as the guitarist in the show’s band. Buddy Emmons, another pedal steel guitar virtuoso, began with Tubb in about 1958 and lasted through the early 1960s. Emmons went on to create a steel-guitar manufacturing company that bears his name.
Beginning in the fall of 1965, he hosted a half-hour TV program, The Ernest Tubb Show, which aired in first-run syndication for three years. That same year, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; and in 1970, Tubb was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Current fans may know Tubb primarily for the Ernest Tubb Record Shop in Nashville, which opened in May 1947. There are also Ernest Tubb Record Shops in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Fort Worth, Texas. The record shops have been meeting places for country music stars and fans for decades.