Minnie Pearl and Pee Wee King, Grande Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee, 1973
|Minnie was the preeminent country comedian of her day—arguably any day. With a $1.98 price tag hanging from her hat, she greeted her audience with an unmistakable "How-dee," and regaled them with corny tales about the citizens of Grinder's Switch, influencing among others Garrison Keillor (and his tales of Lake Wobegon). Born Sarah Ophelia Colley, Minnie was a member of the Grand Ole Opry from 1940 until her death in 1996. She also was a cast member of the popular Hee Haw television show.
Pee Wee King was a pop/country fiddler who fronted a big band that at various times employed (among others) Country Music Hall of Famers Eddy Arnold and Minnie Pearl. Although he had a long career, beginning in the early 1930s, he is best remembered for the songs he is credited as writing or co-writing: "Bonaparte's Retreat," "Slow Poke," and "Tennessee Waltz"— the state song of Tennessee, a no. 1 pop hit for Patti Page in 1950, and one of the most covered songs of all time.