While you can now log on to any music website and listen to country music for free, country music takes its root from very intimate renditions in isolated areas of the United States. Modern country music orginated from folk music and Celtic music. While originally called hillbilly music, a term that is still deragatorily used today, it began to gain popularity in the first half of the twentieth century and coined the term country music.
The popularity of country music is attached to the shoulders of two individuals; Elvis Presley for making it mainstream and popular and Garth Brooks for keeping country music alive in modern times. Brooks has sold nearly one hundred and thirty million CDs, the most of any solo act in music history. It is estimated that just under a third of the country favors country music to any other music.
The very first country music artist to be commericially distributed by record companies is believed to be A.C. Robertson in the early nineteen twenties by Victor Records. It did not take long for this new genre to be picked up by other major recording labels such as Columbia Records. The first country hit that became popular throughout the entire country was a Vernon Dalhart single called "Wreck of the Old '97" in the mid-nineteen twenties. In the nineteen fifties country music became a little bit Rock N' Roll. Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash had the top hits of the fifties with country rock songs like Heartbreak Hotel and I Walk the Line. Not long after, country became more than just fiddle playing as many acts began adding electric guitars and drums to the country sound. By the nineteen seventies, acts like Neil Young and The Eagles pushed country in a more rock direction and later acts like Dolly Parton created what is called today "Country Pop."