Personalities | Ken Nelson | West Coast Scene | Country

(Record producer, b. 1911)

A major force in country music’s development during the post-war years, Minnesota-born Kenneth F. Nelson began his days at Capitol Records on the behest of old friend Lee Gillette, handling transcriptions. When Gillette took over the label’s pop division in 1951, Nelson took over the A&R country responsibilities, having first become involved with this music from his time as a programme director on radio station WJJD (Chicago). Among his initial assignments was producing a session with Hank Thompson. This resulted in Thompson’s first No. 1 hit, ‘The Wild Side Of Life’ (1952). Over the years he signed many of country music’s foremost artists to Capitol, including Faron Young, The Louvin Brothers, Wanda Jackson, Tommy Collins, Rose Maddox, Jean Shepard, as well as rocker Gene Vincent and comedian Stan Freberg. He helped develop the Bakersfield Sound, fully supporting Buck Owens and Merle Haggard’s creative skills. Ken Nelson was elected into Nashville’s Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2001.

Styles & Forms | West Coast Scene | Country
Personalities | Bonnie Owens | West Coast Scene | Country

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen


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