I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky #16

From October 1, 2010 through to the end of September 2011, we will, each day, celebrate the life of Bill Monroe by sharing information about him and those people who are associated with his life and music career. This information will include births and deaths; recording sessions; single, LP and CD release dates; and other interesting tidbits. Richard F. Thompson is responsible for the research and compilation of this information. We invite readers to share any tidbits, photos or memories you would like us to include.

  • October 16, 1954 Elvis Presley sang Blue Moon of Kentucky during his first appearance on the Louisiana Hayride. *
  • October 16, 1973 Bryan Sutton born Asheville, North Carolina. Sutton deputised for Bill Monroe, playing a date at Eminence, Missouri, Spring 1995, when Monroe’s health was too poor to enable him to make an appearance.
  • October 16, 1984 Don Reno died in Charlottesville, Virginia, age 57. (See Don with Monroe in the video below)
  • October 16, 1991 Lloyd George passed away. He is buried in Netherland Cemetery in Overton County, Tennessee.  **

* Presley sang Blue Moon of Kentucky on his only appearance on the Grand Ole Opry on October 2, 1956. Monroe’s original version of Blue Moon of Kentucky was re-released after Elvis’s release began getting airplay.

** Not to be confused with the Welsh politician of the same name, Lloyd George was the first musician/comedian to play the role of Lonzo (as in Lonzo and Oscar). In 1949 he recorded for Capitol Records using the stage name Ken Marvin and during the 1950s and 1960s he pursued a solo career. Later, about 1963, he began booking shows for Bill Monroe, working with Ralph Rinzler at Bill Monroe Associates serving as “exclusive agent.”

Bill Monroe on Blue Moon of Kentucky:

“Back in those days, it seems every trip we made was from Kentucky to Florida driving back and forth. I always thought about Kentucky, and I wanted to write a song about the moon we could always see over it. The best way to do this was to bring a girl into the song. I wanted words to this, because most of my songs were instrumentals. Kentucky Waltz had come earlier and I knew I could write both words and music, so I wrote it in the car on the way home from one if those Florida trips.”

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.