Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys

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Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys

Bob Wills pioneered "western swing," an upbeat style of country music that had a lasting impact on the industry. Wills, who grew up in the cotton fields of northern Texas during the World War I era, combined the blues of black sharecroppers with southern "hillbilly" music. In the mid-1930s, Wills formed the Texas Playboys, a band using experienced swing and Dixieland jazz musicians, who toured throughout the southwest to packed houses. Western swing became a national phenomenon after their 1940 hit "New San Antonio Rose," and Wills was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968.

—Jeffrey W. Coker

Further Reading:

Knowles, Ruth Sheldon. Bob Wills: Hubbin' It. Nashville, Country Music Foundation Press, 1995.

Malone, Bill C. Country Music USA. Revised edition. Austin, University of Texas Press, 1985.

Townsend, Charles R. San Antonio Rose: The Life and Music of Bob Wills. Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1986.