A. P. Carter

Induction Year: 1970

Birth Name: Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter

Birth Date: 12-15-1891

Place of Birth: Maces Springs, Virginia

Death Date: 11-07-1960

Place of Death: Kingsport, Tennessee

The songs of A. P. Carter form the bedrock on which country music was built. This former farmer and fruit tree salesman was the leader of the trio known as the Carter Family. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the act put country music on the national music map. The group consisted of A. P., his wife Sara and his sister-in-law Maybelle (who was married to A. P.'s brother). Sara sang lead and played autoharp. Maybelle played lead guitar and sang harmony. A. P. sometimes added a bass vocal.

Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, the trio successfully auditioned for Victor Records in 1927. The company's Ralph Peer was eager to acquire copyrights for his Southern Music publishing company sideline, so he stressed that the Carters continually come up with original material to place with his firm. A. P. embarked on song-scouting trips into the Appalachians to harvest local music.

A. P.'s songs were re-workings of "holiness" songbook tunes ("Anchored in Love," "I'm Working on a Building"), adaptations of pop lyric fragments ("Are You Lonesome Tonight," "Faded Coat of Blue"), arrangements of American folk songs ("Black Jack David," "Lonesome Valley") or his own compositions ("My Clinch Mountain Home," "Foggy Mountain Top"). He tended to forget melodies, so on his song-collecting trips he was accompanied by African-American musician Lesley Riddle as his human tape recorder.

Almost all of the Carter Family's songs are credited to A. P. Carter, even when Maybelle ("You Are My Flower"), Sara ("I Never Will Marry") or Lesley ("Jealous Hearted Me") was the source. He did, however, scrupulously split his royalty income three ways equally among the trio's members.

Country music's first star group is unmatched as a preserver and popularizer of folk, gospel and parlor songs. From the Carters came the Kingston Trio's "Worried Man," Linda Ronstadt's "I Never Will Marry," Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight," Emmylou Harris' "Hello Stranger" and Roy Acuff's "Wabash Cannonball." The group's "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" provided the melody for Acuff's "Great Speckled Bird," Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life" and Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." "Little Darling Pal of Mine" was the basis for "You are My Sunshine." Woody Guthrie borrowed the tune of "When the World's on Fire" for "This Land Is Your Land." "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" is often referred to as "country music's national anthem." The group was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970.

"Anchored in Love"

The Carter Family1928 
Joe & Janette Carter1966 
The Red Clay Ramblers1980 
The New Lost City Ramblers1997 
June Carter Cash2003 

"Are You Lonesome Tonight"

The Carter Family1936 
Jaye P. Morgan1959 #65 pop
Elvis Presley1960 #1 pop, #22 country
Bill Clifton1961 
Donny Osmond1974 #14 pop
Merle Haggard1977 
John Schneider & Jill Michaels1983 #57 country
Leon Redbone1988 
Anne Murray2002 

"Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow"

The Carter Family1927 
The Delmore Brothers1938 
Anita Carter1964 
Ricky Skaggs & Tony Rice1980 
Natalie Merchant2003 
Rosanne Cash2009 

"Can the Circle Be Unbroken a.k.a. Will the Circle Be Unbroken "

The Carter Family1933 
The Monroe Brothers1936 
Roy Acuff1940 
Eddy Arnold1952 
Pat Boone1957 
Red Foley1958 
George Jones1959 
Rex Allen1962 
Chet Atkins1962 
Marty Robbins1965 
Joan Baez1965 
The Staple Singers1965 
Doc Watson1967 
Delaney & Bonnie1971 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band1972 
Gregg Allman1973 
The Seldom Scene1975 
Willie Nelson1976 
Jerry Jeff Walker1977 
The Charlie Daniels Band1978 
Asleep at the Wheel1979 
Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger1982 
The Neville Brothers1989 
Moe Bandy1995 
B. J. Thomas1997 
Loretta Lynn1998 
The Allman Brothers1998 
The Marshall Tucker Band1999 
Randy Travis2003 
Porter Wagoner2006 
Ralph Stanley2007 
Kenny Rogers2011 

"Foggy Mountain Top"

The Carter Family1929 
Woody Guthrie1940 
Flatt & Scruggs1951 
Porter Wagoner1963 
Faron Young1964 
Chet Atkins1967 
Bill Monroe1972 
Carlene Carter1980 
Rose Maddox1981 

"Gathering Flowers from the Hillside"

The Carter Family1935 
Wade Mainer & Zeke Morris1936 
The Delmore Brothers1940 
Hank Thompson1958 
Reno & Smiley1959 
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers1960 
Flatt & Scruggs1961 
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper1977 

"Gospel Ship"

The Carter Family1935 
The Monroe Brothers1937 
Joan Baez1962 
The Earl Scruggs Revue1975 
Dry Branch Fire Squad1986 
Bill & Gloria Gaither1993 
Gary Chapman1996 
Michael English1998 

"Hello Stranger"

The Carter Family1937 
Flatt & Scruggs1964 
Hazel & Alice1973 
Emmylou Harris1977 
Norman Blake1985 

"Hold Fast to the Right"

The Carter Family1937 
Mac Wiseman1958 
Webb Pierce1959 
Nashville Bluegrass Band1987 
Dolly Parton1994 

"I Never Will Marry"

The Carter Family1933 
Bailey Brothers1947 
Country Gentlemen1958 
The Weavers1959 
Tompall & Glaser Brothers1960 
Pete Seeger1962 
The Highwaymen1963 
Anita Carter & Hank Snow1964 
Linda Ronstadt1978 #8 country

"I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes"

The Carter Family1929 
Renfro Valley Boys1932 
Joe Shelton & Curly Fox1935 
The Saddle Tramps1937 
Bob Atcher & Bonnie Blue Eyes1939 
Denver Darling1941 
Jimmie Davis1941 
Louise Massey & the Westerners1942 
Perry Como1943 
Bing Crosby1943 
Gene Autry1944 #3 country
Burl Ives1950 
Eddy Arnold1952 
Slim Whitman1963 
Jimmy Martin1964 
George Morgan1964 
Chet Atkins & the Boston Pops1966 
Goldie Hill1969 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band1972 
The Stonemans1982 
Dolly Parton1994 
David Frizzell1999 
Ralph Stanley2006 
Porter Wagoner2008 

"I'm Working on a Building"

The Carter Family1934 
J. E. Mainer1946 
Bill Monroe1954 
The Oak Ridge Boys2001 
Charlie Daniels2005 
Porter Wagoner2006 
Marty Raybon2012 

"Jealous Hearted Me"

The Carter Family1936 
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys1946 
Minnie Pearl1946 
Eddy Arnold1963 

"Jimmie Brown the Newsboy"

The Carter Family1929 
Mac Wiseman1959 #5 country
Lonnie Donegan1960 
Pat Boone1960 
Flatt & Scruggs1962 
Bill Monroe1962 
Skeeter Davis1968 
Roy Clark2005 
Ronnie McCoury2007 
Jimmie Dale Gilmore2005 

"John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man"

The Carter Family1928 
Glenn Yarbrough1957 
Pete Seeger1961 
Anita Carter1964 
Country Gazette1981 
Bob Dylan & the Grateful Dead1987 

"Keep on the Firing Line"

The Carter Family1941 
The Lewis Family1963 
Grandpa Jones1966 
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper1977 
The Chuck Wagon Gang1984 
Bill & Gloria Gaither1995 
Stella Parton2003 
Ralph Stanley2006 

"Keep on the Sunny Side"

The Carter Family1928 
Flatt & Scruggs1962 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band1972 
Johnny Cash1974 
Doc Watson1975 
The Osborne Brothers1979 
Merle Haggard1981 
The Chuck Wagon Gang1987 
The Whites2000 soundtrack <i>O Brother, Where Art Thou?</i>
Charlie Daniels2005 
Brad Paisley2007 

"Little Darling, Pal of Mine"

The Carter Family1928 
Leo Soileau's Four Aces1936 
Woody Guthrie1944 
The Stanley Brothers1965 
Doc Watson1966 
Lucinda Williams1979 

"Lonesome Valley"

The Carter Family1930 
The Monroe Brothers1936 
Dixie Reelers1936 
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers1936 
Roy Acuff1937 
Woody Guthrie1940 
Glenn Yarbrough1957 
Kitty Wells1959 
Joan Baez1962 
Ernest Tubb1963 
Bobby Bare1966 
Buck Owens1970 
Tim Hardin1972 
Earl Scruggs & Tom T. Hall1982 
The Fairfield Four2000 soundtrack <i>O Brother, Where Art Thou?</i>
Ferlin Husky2002 
George Jones2003 

"Lulu Walls"

The Carter Family1929 
Marvin Williams1930 
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper1977 
The Red Clay Ramblers1980 
John Prine1986 

"My Dixie Darling"

The Carter Family1936 
Lonnie Donegan1957 
The Red Clay Ramblers1980 
Carlene Carter1990 
Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum1995 

"No Depression in Heaven"

The Carter Family1936 
The New Lost City Ramblers1959 
Sheryl Crow2004 
Levon Helm2011 

"Single Girl, Married Girl"

The Carter Family1927 
The Stanley Brothers1971 
Shawn Colvin2004 
Levon Helm2007 

"The Winding Stream"

The Carter Family1932 
Helen Carter1979 
Carlene Carter1995 
Rosanne Cash2004 
Johnny Cash2006 

"Wabash Cannonball"

Hugh Cross1929 
The Carter Family1929 
Roy Acuff1936 
Roy Hall1939 
Bill Carlisle1939 
Lonnie Donegan1956 
Little Jimmy Dickens1957 
Eddy Arnold1959 
Ernest Tubb1961 
Hank Locklin1962 
The Ventures1963 
Hank Williams Jr.1964 
Bing Crosby1965 
Chet Atkins1967 
Wanda Jackson1967 
Jerry Reed1968 
Carl Smith1969 
Dolly Parton1970 
Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass1970 #63 country
Hank Snow1971 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band1972 
Leon Russell1974 
Charlie McCoy1976 #97 country
Bill Monroe1977 
Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger1982 
Willie Nelson & Leon Russell1984 #91 country
Townes Van Zandt1992 

"When the World's on Fire"

The Carter Family1930 
Charlie Monroe1938 
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver1986 

"Wildwood Flower"

The Carter Family1928 
Chet Atkins1947 
Hank Thompson1955 #5 country
Joan Baez1960 
The Stanley Brothers1960 
Cowboy Copas1962 
The Ventures1963 
Johnny Cash1965 
Jim Reeves1968 
Stonewall Jackson1971 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band1972 
Tommy Collins1972 
John Sebastian1974 
Sonny James1976 
Merle Travis & Joe Maphis1979 
The Kentucky Colonels1980 
Roy Clark1983 #55 country
Bob Dylan1992 
Roger McGuinn2005 
Reese Witherspoon2005  soundtrack Walk the Line
Loretta Lynn2007 
Charlie Haden2008 

"Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone"

The Carter Family1928 
Grandpa Jones1943 
Woody Guthrie1944 
The Stanley Brothers1961 
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys1963 
Joe & Janette Carter1966 

"Worried Man Blues"

The Carter Family1930 
Rodgers & Nicholson1932 
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers1936 
Woody Guthrie1940 
Burl Ives1955 
Mel Tillis1957 
The Kingston Trio1959 #20 pop
Pete Seeger1960 
Bill Anderson1962 
The Osborne Brothers1963 
Bobby Bare1963 
The Blue Sky Boys1964 
Tom Jones1965 
Jim & Jesse1998 
George Jones2004 
Ralph Stanley2006 
Charlie Louvin2007 

"You Are My Flower"

The Carter Family1938 
Flatt & Scruggs1961 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band1972 
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper1977 
The Osborne Brothers1991 
Willie Nelson2004 

A. P. Carter

Induction Year: 1970