Bob Wills

Bob Wills on Horseback

Bob Wills is seen here riding his favorite horse, Punkin, at his Hollywood home in 1944.

Biography

Bob Wills was one of the most influential country muscians that the 20th century has had to offer. With his humble beginnings in rural Texas, he rose to fame with the ever popular 'western swing' craze. He and a few other artists, including oddly enough Bing Crosby, popularized this genre into a foundation of country music that still survives to this day. During the war years, he served his country in the army until he was medically discharged in 1943. He continued supporting the war effort with benefit shows and promotional campaigns. His music defined a generation in the fact that it reminded the men/women of home and the simplicity of it all. It showed them that they have something to return to when the war ended. Wills continued to perform until the late '60s and past away in 1975.

Take Me Back to Oklahoma (1940)

Film Poster for the western, Take Me Back to Oklahoma, 1940.

Film

This 1940 western shows us that America was still fascinated by the western culture we experienced only one hundred years prior. Wills stars in this film as himself, playing music throughout. The premise of the movie is that Storm wants to ruin Ace's stage line. Tex, played by famed actor Tex Ritter, comes in to aid Ace. Storm hires gunman Mule Bates but, unknowingly to Storm, Bates and Tex know each other and plan to fool Storm once and for all. This movie was not very successful in its entirety, but did do wonders for Wills with the film's soundtrack.

The Music

"New San Antonio Rose" broke the country genre wide open. It gave birth to a new craze in country music, the western swing movement. This style of music remained until the late 1950s and faded off. The toe-tapping beats and rhythm still remains in country music to this day however.