A! Magazine for the Arts

Common Chord (two-part story)

March 21, 2011

******* Part 1 **********

Bobby Hebb wanted to know how to write a song. He stood in an alley out back of the Ryman Auditorium, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Folks passed by and paid him no mind....Down the stairs leading from the Opry's backstage came country's biggest star then and for all time. "[Hank Williams] put his arm around my shoulder, and he said 'you sit down and write as if you are writing to someone. Make sure it comes from your heart,'" Hebb recalled.

Click on this link to read the rest of the story in this two-part series on black contributions to country music.

******* Part 2 **********

Four black women stepped on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. The year was 1974. And the Pointer Sisters were there to sing their country hit "Fairytale."

"Somebody jumped up in the audience and said, "hot damn, those girls are black!'" said Anita Pointer by phone from her home near Los Angeles. "We just cracked up."

Click on this link to read the final story in this two-part series.