Square Dancing on the Radio?
The "Father of Bluegrass Music" got his start
Square Dancing on the radio

By John Brant

In 1929 when Bill Monroe was 18 years old he moved to Indiana to join his brothers Burchard and Charlie who got jobs at an oil refinery. They worked as a trio playing radio shows and clubs. The WLS barn dance program hired them and their girl friends as square dancers. That was Bill's first big break. There wasn't much of a future as a radio square dancer but it got him close to some of the big acts of the day such as the Hoosier Hot Shots.

When he was 23 he decided to pursue music full time as a duo with his brother Charlie working radio shows in Shenandoah Iowa, Omaha Nebraska, and Charlotte North Carolina. No one played as fast and as hard as the Monroe brothers. Bill Monroe went on to become a legend as "The Father of Bluegrass Music". He passed away one day shy of his 85th birthday in 1996. His music will be remembered for generations to come - his square dancing days will not.


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12-November-2006 13:53:05