Why Country Music is Called Country Music

I probably should have known this, but I didn’t.

Credit Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and the wave of anti-Communist hysteria that he rode to political prominence. McCarthy tainted the word “folk” by associating it with “Communist”. He did this by attacking the Weavers “folk” group as Communist sympathizers and summoning its most prominent member, Pete Seeger, to testify before his Committee on Un-American Activities. Overnight the word “folk” was dropped from contention. In 1953 it was no longer used in the trade press, the fan magazines, or in advertisements for country music.”Folk” was out and the word “country” was simply dropped in its place. Along with many other terms, it had been used in the trade press for some years, but by December 5 1953, the date of a forty-eight-page, advertisement-adorned special Billboard section devoted to the music, the term “country” is used virtually to the exclusion of all others…

Richard A. Peterson, Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity, University of Chicago Press, 1997, pp.198-9.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *