Conway Twitty

Tennessean of the Year
Year Inducted:


Conway Twitty’s family lived in a tiny town on the Mississippi River called Friars Point, a largely African-American settlement comprised of cotton patches and tenant farms. Next door lived an old black man Conway Twitty fondly called Uncle Fred, whom he idolized and who taught him guitar. “I’d sit out there for hours and he’d teach me the blues type-stuff,” Twitty recalled. When Twitty was ten, his parents moved to Helena, Arkansas, and it was there that he put together his first band – The Phillips County Ramblers. It was also in Helena that Twitty discovered his second love – baseball. After high school, he wound up with an offer to play with the Philadelphia Phillies, but before he could sign Twitty was drafted by the Army. Upon returning home, the first thing he heard was Elvis Presley’s “Mystery Train,” and it knocked him out. “Although I loved country music, I didn’t think I was good enough to compete with my idols,” Twitty explained, “but I did think I could sing Elvis’ style of music. I had to make a decision. I threw down the baseball bat and picked up the guitar.” Twitty had over forty hit singles that topped the country music charts in his lifetime. Besides being a major musical figure, he was known as one of the most forthright men in Nashville and a very successful businessman. Conway Twitty was the most consistent hit maker in the history of country music and 1984 Tennessean of the Year for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

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