The Silk Gentleman

b. August 20, 1923, Jim Reeves was perhaps the biggest male star to emerge from the Nashville sound. Detractors call the sound country-pop (or plain pop), but Reeves was capable of singing hard country (“Mexican Joe” went to number one in 1953.)

Gentleman Jim was at the height of his career when his private plane crashed outside of Nashville on July 31, 1964. His popularity actually grew over the years — in fact, there wasn’t a year between 1970 and 1984 when there wasn’t a Reeves single in the charts, either at the top or in the lower regions. Reeves was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967, and two years later, the Academy of Country Music instituted the Jim Reeves Memorial Award.