Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tennessee Ernie Ford

I have several Ernie Ford songs on the Ipod, and last night his "Who At The Door Is Standing" came up in the shuffle.  
In the fifties, everybody I knew loved Ernie.  He was funny and lovable, and such a good singer.  
Each week, he closed his TV show with a hymn.  I understand the network tried to get him to stop with the hymns, but he told them, "People like those songs."  
His album, "Hymns", was the first religious record ever to go gold.  
I suppose all of America thought Ernie grew up singing those songs, and that he was a stalwart Christian soldier.  
Not so.  
A while back I read the book Jeffrey Buckner Ford wrote about his dad's life.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read that Ernie and his family were not religious, not even a little bit.  
It just goes to show how we can get ideas in our minds about entertainers and others in the public eye.  Ernie never claimed to be a Christian; he never proselytized or testified.  All he did was sing a hymn once a week.  
Because people liked it.  It was a marketing technique that worked for him.  
That doesn't make him a bad person; his job was to get people to watch the Ford show, and that's what he did.   
But I still love to hear him singing those songs that I grew up with, even now that I know the whole story.  

1 comment:

Mrs. L said...

My memory of TEF was "Sixteen Tons" when he crossed over from country to pop. He was like Bing Crosby -- great public persona, but a total jerk in his private life.