Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- 'Simple Mathematics' Lead Danish Government to Cut Off Future Funding for Extended Royal Family
- Read the Cover Story: Steve Harvey: From Homeless to Having It All
- Jennifer Lawrence Just Recycled an Entire Outfit for Her Best Friend's Wedding (Choker and All!)
- Alicia Keys Pens Powerful Essay About Overcoming Her Insecurities: 'I Don't Want to Cover Up Anymore'
- Massive Gator Tours Florida Golf Course
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- September 23, 1996
- Vol. 46
- No. 13
Out of His Sweat and Soul, Uncompromising Bill Monroe Fathered a Music He Called His Own
His timin', as it turned out, was just about perfect. In the postwar years, bluegrass (named for his band) became a recognized American folk-art form, a vibrant blend of Appalachian mountain melodies, blues, gospel and jazz. And for more than four decades, Monroe reigned as its stern patriarch. "There was no life, no excitement to country music before Bill," says longtime friend and country star Ricky Skaggs. "He was aggressive and hard. Those were the seeds he sowed."
Last week the music that came to be known for the "high lonesome" sound of Monroe's keening tenor sadly skipped a beat when he died in Springfield, Tenn.—four days short of his 85th birthday—from complications of a stroke. From humble beginnings—he was raised on a farm in Rosine, Ky., the youngest of eight children—Monroe, a sixth-grade dropout, took up the mandolin and ultimately sold 40 million records. Those who fell under his spell included everyone from Elvis Presley (who turned Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" into his first regional hit) to Bob Dylan.
A famously cantankerous man when it came to those who played in his band, Monroe demanded that they share his dedication to, even obsession with, the music. In later years he fiercely guarded his reputation as the father of bluegrass, reacting angrily if anyone dared suggest that paternity didn't belong to him alone. He neither drank nor smoked, always wore a coat and tie onstage and performed regularly until last March, when he made what was to be his final appearance after 57 years at the Grand Ole Opry.
If it sometimes seemed that Monroe hadn't the slightest interest in anything except bluegrass, he had no objection. Says banjo great Earl Scruggs, one of the best known Blue Grass Boys: "He put his whole life in the music." For some, that might have been too steep a price. For the proud Monroe, it was the bargain of immortality.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!