Stars Recall Chet Atkins' Lasting Impact


Chet Atkins

February 28, 2007 — Emmylou Harris, Brenda Lee and Suzy Bogguss were among the artists at a recent fundraiser for the Chet Atkins Music Education Fund, The Tennessean reports. Photos of Chet, whose work as a guitarist and producer changed the sound and scope of Nashville music, hung on the stage and the walls, while the performers shared their memories of him and his influence on them.

"He set the standard for how we should all behave," Emmylou said of Chet. "We can't all play the guitar like him, but we can all be good people."

Host Brenda Lee talked about Chet as "such a comic," and Emmylou related his feelings about the highly styled acts and midriff-baring artists who dominate the music world today. "He said, 'I remember when ugly people used to sing pretty songs,' " Emmylou recalled.

At the end of the evening, the performers gathered to sing "All I Have to Do Is Dream," a song popularized by the Everly Brothers, an act that Atkins championed and produced. Then Brenda led a spirited, sing-and-clap-along performance of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."

The Chet Atkins Music Education Fund provides financial support for kids who want to learn to play music.