A! Magazine for the Arts

City announces Tennessee Ernie Ford Legacy Award and lecture series

February 15, 2015

BRISTOL,TN/VA- Later this year the City of Bristol, Tennessee, will be supporting the efforts of the Bristol Historical Association who in conjunction with the Tennessee Ernie Ford Enterprises LP are creating a Tennessee Ernie Ford Legacy Award and corresponding lecture series.

The event will be held at the Paramount Theatre in late April. Details of the event and TEF Legacy award will be forthcoming soon.

Tennessee Ernie Ford was born in Bristol 96 years ago on Feb. 15, 1919. He enjoyed a short career here with WOPI Radio as a radio announcer and attended church at the Anderson Street United Methodist Church during his youth.

That short lived career at WOPI led to greater things later in life after moving to the west coast where he was a disc jockey for a radio station in San Bernardino, California and later at KXLA in Pasadena, California. He released almost 50 country singles through the early "50s and scored an unexpected hit on the pop charts with his rendering of Sixteen Tons. He later helmed his own prime-time variety program, "The Ford Show" which ran on NBC from 1956-1961. In April 1991, as the Paramount Theatre had its grand re-opening, Ford returned to his hometown to host those festivities. He passed away in the fall of 1991 in Reston, Virginia.

Tim Buchanan, president of the Bristol Historical Association said, "We are so excited about recognizing Mr. Ford and his accomplishments. This inaugural event is so exciting. We would like to see young and old in our community come out and find out more about Mr. Ford." The Legacy Award will be the first award of its kind that the Tennessee Ernie Ford Foundation is involved with and has sanctioned.

"This community event in-the-making is one where people of the area can come hear more about Tennessee Ernie Ford's life and legacy. He was such a diverse man, with so many vocations, vocalist, entertainer, actor and writer. "After reading much about him I found he, like everyone, had his troubles, but he seemed to love life and his family to the fullest and lived each day with passion," said Terrie Talbert, director of community relations for the city. "We are looking forward to being a part of this celebration."