William Smith Monroe (September 13, 1911 – September 9, 1996) was an American musician who helped develop the style of music known as bluegrass, which takes its name from his band, the "Blue Grass Boys," named for Monroe's home state of Kentucky. Monroe's performing career spanned 60 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. He is often referred to as The Father of Bluegrass.
Bill Monroe was made an honorary Kentucky colonel in 1966. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as an "early influence") in 1997. Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Hank Williams Sr., and Johnny Cash are the only other performers honored in all three. As the "father of bluegrass," he was also an inaugural inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1991. In 1993, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1995. His well-known song "Blue Moon of Kentucky" has been covered not only by bluegrass but also rock and country artists, most notably Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, and Patsy Cline. In 2003, CMT had Bill Monroe ranked #16 on CMT 40 Greatest Men of Country Music. Artists that claimed to be influenced by or to be playing the bluegrass genre were often bullied by Bill Monroe. He always considered himself the father and caretaker of bluegrass. He would often say of new bands that did not perform to his standards, "That ain't no part of nothin'." Even those who question the scope of bluegrass refer to Monroe as a "musical giant" and recognize that "there would be no bluegrass without Bill Monroe."
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