|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
THEY LOVE MOUNTAIN MUSIC
by Time Magazine
Springfield, Mo., "queen city of the Ozarks" (pop. 96,350) has convinced millions, through radio and TV, that it is the home of country music. While other radio stations were scratching out pop music on wax, Springfield's KWTO (Keep Watching the Ozarks) gave its listeners live, howling hillbillies.
Two years ago the Springfield hillbillies began moaning and wailing on a two-hour KWTO show called "Ozark Jubilee," and ABC put 25 minutes of it on its radio network. Six months later the show was on the ABC-TV network, soon grabbed 90 minutes of prime television time (Sat., 7:30 p.m., E.S.T.) three weeks out of four. Last week Springfield could lay claim to being the hillbilly capital of the world.
HILLBILLY BOOM. At last count, 121 hillbillies were singmg and strumming on "Jubilee," ambitious youngsters were washing dishes, waiting for their chance to howl their way to success, and Springfield had become accustomed to high-heeled guitar players breezing around town in expensive cars. "Jubilee" executives figure that they will squeeze about $2,500,000 out of country music this year.
The record sales of "Jubilee's" star, Clyde Julian ("Red") Foley, have topped Vh million. Foley and two other Springfield hillbillies (Webb Pierce and Eddy Arnold) sell close to half the country-music records marketed in the U. S. Six years ago Pierce was selling clothes in Sears, Roebuck; now he is making something close to $200,000 a year. Foley can command up to $1,500 a night, but does only four or five dates a month because he "doesn't want to take all that money to the grave-yard." "Jubilee" has been "a two camera, no-ulcer show," and manages to remain casual despite the recent addition of a third camera.
HAYRIDE AND OPRY. Springfield's claim to hillbilly distinction annoys both Nashville, long the mecca of hill-
"Repnnted by permission from Time, Vol. 67, No. 19, May 7, Copyright 1956, Time Inc."