Segments in this Video

Music and Society (04:52)


Nashville is the center of country music for most fans in the early 1960s. Marty Stuart reflects on stars who performed at the Grand Ole Opry. The mid-1960s are a time of cultural change.

Country Music Family (05:40)

Low sales of country records force artists to tour and play at various venues; they connect with fans on a more personal level. Many artists wear clothes by Nudie Cohn.

Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan (03:30)

Cash headlines tours in major cities. He is interested in all forms of American music, including the folk music revival. Cash performs at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964; he and Dylan become friends.

Plight of Native Americans (02:41)

The audience's reaction to Peter La Farge and "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" disappoints Cash so he records "Bitter Tears"; disc jockeys refuse to play the record. Cash plays benefit concerts on reservations.

Cash's Struggles (04:07)

Cash has an affair with June Carter and is a heavy drug user. El Paso police arrest Cash for amphetamine possession; a picture of his wife causes backlash. Cash and his wife, and Carter and her husband divorce in 1966.

Roger Miller (05:31)

Humor is a large part of Miller's personality; he is known for taking pills. He struggles to establish himself as a singer and records "Roger and Out" before going to Hollywood. He returns to Nashville and records "King of the Road," becoming vastly popular.

Music Row (06:27)

Over 250 music publishers and 24 record companies are in Nashville. Session musicians, including the "A-team," are constantly busy. Charlie McCoy plays most instruments but is best known for the harmonica. Experts discuss the Nashville Sound.

Grand Ole Opry (05:49)

Musicians play for live audiences at the Ryman Auditorium every Saturday; tour buses drive through Nashville neighborhoods. Nashville elite believe hillbilly music is ruining the city. Sara Ophelia Canon attempts to bridge the gap in community relations.

Bakersfield Sound (08:35)

California country music has a sharp edge. Alvis Edgar Owens Jr. moves to Bakersfield in 1951 and creates a sound for AM radio. He supports The Beatles and incorporates a comedy routine featuring them into his act.

Loretta Lynn (09:50)

Elvis Costello and Jack White recall working with Lynn. Lynn writes songs about life experiences. "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' With Lovin' on Your Mind" and "Coal Miner's Daughter" become hits; "The Pill" is controversial.

Charley Pride (11:28)

President Johnson ends legalized discrimination. Pride recalls segregation, meeting Faron Young, and public reaction to his skin color. He enters a Nashville recording studio in 1965; "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" hits the charts. Pride is the first artist to win male vocalist two years in a row.

Merle Haggard (09:42)

Haggard reflects on the treatment of okies. His mother encourages his interest in music, but he often gets into trouble with police and enters San Quentin in 1957. After release, Haggard pursues a music career and becomes known as the poet of the common man.

Haggard's Popularity (04:23)

Haggard regularly produces number one hits during the late 1960s; experts reflect on his talent. Haggard discusses the origins of "Today I started Loving You Again."

Connie Smith (04:31)

Men are the prominent face of country music in the 1960s, but some women follow Lynn's lead. In 1964, Smith records "Once a Day" and appears on Midnight Jamboree. Marty Stuart shares memories of Smith.

Jeannie Seely (02:48)

Seely recalls entering the music industry and wearing a miniskirt at the Grand Ole Opry. "Don't Touch Me" wins a Grammy.

Dolly Parton (05:36)

Parton arrives in Nashville in 1964 and appears on "The Porter Wagoner Show" in 1967. She discusses her background, early television exposure, and response to Porter's domineering attitude.

Bobbie Gentry and Jeannie C. Riley (04:52)

In 1967, "Ode to Billie Joe" hits the charts; the song wins three Grammys. In 1968, "Harper Valley P.T.A." brings Riley success; Tom T. Hall recalls writing the song about small town hypocrisy.

June Carter (03:40)

Carter regularly tours with Cash and they fall in love; she fears his drug addiction. Carlene Carter discusses her family trying to help Cash get clean.

Folsom Prison Concert (07:15)

Redemption is a common theme in Cash's life. In January 1968, he records a live performance at the prison. The Folsom album revitalizes Cash's career. Cash and Carter marry in March.

Credits: The Sons and Daughters Of America (1964 –1968) (03:05)

Credits: The Sons and Daughters Of America (1964 –1968)

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Episode 5: The Sons and Daughters Of America (1964-1968) (Ken Burns: Country Music)

Part of the Series : Ken Burns: Country Music
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During a time of upheaval, country music reflects the changes in American society. Loretta Lynn performs songs that speak on behalf of women. Charley Pride becomes a country star. Merle Haggard becomes the “Poet of the Common Man.” 

Length: 115 minutes

Item#: BVL192004

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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