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Jim Reeves Jim Reeves stands as one of the most distinctive singers in the history of country music. His smooth, warm baritone was a major component of the sophisticated, pop-influenced Nashville Sound that emerged during the late 1950s and early 1960s and boosted country music to new commercial heights while strengthening Nashvilles role as a music center.
b. Panola County, Texas, August 20, 1923; d. July 31, 1964
Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame® 1967
James Travis Reeves was the youngest of nine children, and his older brothers were forced to leave school to help support the family after their father died, when Jim was still a baby. Even as a boy, he became fascinated by music; by the time he was twelve he was singing and playing guitar at local dances and playing with a band on Shreveport, Louisiana, radio station KRMD.
After high school in Carthage, Reeves won a baseball scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin, quit to volunteer for military service in World War II, and became a welder after failing his physical. He continued to play baseball in minor leagues in several states while working as a salesman between seasons. By 1947, however, a leg injury ended his baseball career, so he landed announcers jobs on several East Texas radio stations, slots that allowed him to advertise personal appearances in the area.
In about 1949 Reeves first recorded for the Macys label in Houston, but his recording career began in earnest when he signed with Abbott Records in 1952. Early success with Mexican Joe helped him move up to the 50,000-watt KWKH in Shreveport, where he worked as announcer and performer on the Louisiana Hayride. From there he graduated to the Grand Ole Opry, joining in October 1955 on the strength of early hits on RCA, for whom he began recording the previous May.