See biography by R. D. Smith (2000); N. V. Rosenberg, Bluegrass: A History (1985); Rooney, J., Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters (1991); T. Ewing, ed., The Bill Monroe Reader (2000); The Music of Bill Monroe: From 1936 to 1994 (4 CDs, 1994); High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music (documentary film, 1994).
(born Sept. 13, 1911, Rosine, Ky., U.S.—died Sept. 9, 1996, Springfield, near Nashville, Tenn.) U.S. singer, songwriter, and mandolin player, inventor of the bluegrass style. Monroe began to play professionally in 1927 and later toured with his brother Charlie. They made their first recordings in 1936 and recorded 60 songs over the next two years. He formed the Blue Grass Boys in 1939. His bluegrass sound emerged fully in 1945, when banjoist Earl Scruggs (b. 1924) and guitarist Lester Flatt joined his band. The Blue Grass Boys established the classic makeup of a bluegrass group—mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo, and upright bass—and bequeathed its name to the genre itself. Monroe continued to perform until shortly before his death.
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