A look back at classic country music performances and interviews.

Type: Variety

Languages: English

Status: Running

Runtime: 30 minutes

Premier: 2016-01-30

Classic Country - Classic country - Netflix

Classic country is a music radio format that specializes in playing mainstream country and western music hits from past decades. The classic country format can actually be further divided into two formats. The first specializes in hits from the 1920s through the early 1970s (thus including music that is older than almost any other radio format in the United States), and focus primarily on innovators and artists from country music's Golden Age (including Hank Williams, George Jones and Johnny Cash). The other focuses on hits from the 1960s (including some the above-mentioned performers) through early 1990s, some pre-1960 music, latter-day Golden Age stars and innovators such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard to newer recurrent hits from current-day artists such as George Strait, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire.

Classic Country - History - Netflix

The format resulted largely from changes in the sound of country music in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, as it began moving to FM radio stations in and around major cities and absorbing some of the electric sound of rock music; similar pressures also were a factor in the development of the Americana format at around the same time. These new FM country stations excluded older “classic” country artists from their playlists, despite the fact that artists, such as Merle Haggard, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Emmylou Harris, were still actively performing and releasing new recordings, some of which were significant hits. When mainstream country radio began this practice in the mid-1990s, a large segment of older country fans felt alienated and turned away from mainstream country. Whereas modern country began moving to FM around this time, classic country remained (and still remains) one of the few formats that has proven ideal for AM radio, particularly in rural areas; prior to this transition, country was primarily an AM radio phenomenon and was most widely popular in rural areas. In 1998, Robert Unmacht, editor of the M Street Journal, said that thirty stations around the United States had switched to the format because many longtime country fans did not like what country radio was doing. The same practice has seemed to follow to television, where Country Music Television and Great American Country rarely play any music videos produced before 1996, leaving heritage and “classic” artists to networks such as RFD-TV, which features a heavy complement of older programming such as Pop! Goes the Country, Porter Wagoner's programs and Hee Haw, along with newer performances from heritage acts. CMT Pure Country, the all-music counterpart to CMT, relegated its classic country programming to a daily half-hour block known as “Pure Vintage” before abandoning classic country altogether by 2015. (Complicating matters somewhat is a relative lack of music videos for country music songs prior to the 1980s.) Classic country remains a popular block format on mainstream country stations, usually on weekends.

Classic Country - References - Netflix