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by a relatively unknown singer and recorded by one of the small companies specializing in country music. When the tune began to show signs of popularity, the big record companies made more sophisticated arrangements, assigning star "pop" singers to it. A promising country tune may also be snapped up by a big-city music publisher and promoted to a hit.
Some of the country songs that have become "pop" hits are "Cold, Cold Heart," "Jambalya," "You Belong to Me," "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes." The first two were written by Hank Williams, the first country composer whose songs were widely accepted in the popular-music field. He died recently, but it's very possible that some of his tunes, including "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight" (recorded this year by Tony Bennett) and "Your Cheatin* Heart," will continue to be sung for a long time to come. And then there is the "Tennessee Waltz," which started as a little country and Western song; Patti Page got hold of it and sang is superbly—and sold nearly two million records.
Why Is It Popular?
Why has backwoods music become so popular in the cities? I believe one reason is the migrations of World War II, when soldiers of North and South met in training camps. The boys from the North found their Southern partners insisted on turning barracks radios to country music. Soon the boys from the North developed a liking for this music too. Again, when the Southerners were sent to Northern training camps, they took their enthusiasm with them. Here the conversion took a little longer, but without doubt many Northern "city fellers" became addicts of "banjer, fiddle, and git-tar."
Another reason may be the nature of recent "pop" music. Perhaps, as "pop" arrangements have become more and more elaborate, a longing for simplicity, even naivete, has sprung up. Maybe people want country music as a change of diet. So along with the famous stars of popular music, you'll find country and Western stars named on best-selling charts. Chief among these singers are Eddy Arnold, who is really the classic singer of the field, Hank Snow, Red