Talking about Tennessee is one of the best states to live in in the U.S. Tennessee is known for its music scene, high-quality whiskey, and is home to the Great Smokies. Country music artists and singers such as Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton hail from Tennessee, and the state has a lot of talents who have grown to become influential in their capacities.
Famous for its natural beauty, affordable cost of living, country music, and southern comfort food. It is the second cheapest state to live in the United States and the number one state to retire.
So, in this article, we’ll look at most influential people in Tennessee. We carefully selected our list of the famous people in Tennessee based on verifiable data on the web.
Table of contents
- Most Influential People in Tennessee
Most Influential People in Tennessee
Here are the most influential people in Tennessee
#1. James Agee
James Rufus Agee is an Author and poet. He was born on November 27, 1909, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He had previously worked as an American screenwriter, author, journalist, poet, and film critic.
He was among the most significant American film critics in the 1940s. A Death in the Family, his autobiographical book from 1957, earned the author a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.
Agee’s father passed away in a car accident when he was six years old. He and his younger sister, Emma, began attending boarding schools when they were seven years old. Two miles from Sewanee, Tennessee, the most significant of these was situated close to his mother’s vacation home. Here are James Agee social media handles:
#2. Eddy Arnold
Richard Edward Arnold was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a Nashville sound (country/popular music) innovator of the late 1950s and scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts, second only to George Jones.
Arnold was born on a farm close to Henderson, Tennessee, on May 15, 1918. His mother played the guitar, while his sharecropper father played the violin.
Arnold volunteered on the farm as a young child, earning him the title Tennessee Plowboy.
Eddy Arnold performed the guitar at school events and festivities while attending Pinson High School in Pinson, Tennessee. He left school before graduating to assist with farm work, but he continued to perform, frequently riding in on a mule while carrying his guitar. Arnold also had a part-time job as a mortuary assistant.
Eddy Arnold is active on the following social media platforms:
#3. Doug Atkins
One of the most influential people in Tennessee is Douglas Leon Atkins. He was an American football player who played defensive end for the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, and New Orleans Saints (NFL).
Under the direction of head coach Robert Neyland, Atkins played collegiate football for the Tennessee Volunteers. At 6 feet 8 inches tall, he was a fearsome defender known for exploiting his enormous stature and quickness to his advantage (2.03 m).
Furthermore, Atkins was born May 8, 1930, in Humboldt, Tennessee. He was a member of the basketball team at Humboldt High School when they won the state championship in 1949 with an unbeaten record. Doug Atkins is active on the following social media platforms:
#4. Chet Atkins
Chet Atkins, real name Lutrell Chester Burton Atkins, was born on June 20, 1924.
He was an American guitarist and record producer who, along with Owen Bradley, developed the Nashville sound, a mellower kind of country music that increased the genre’s appeal to adult pop music listeners.
His picking style, which was influenced by Les Paul, George Barnes, Django Reinhardt, and Merle Travis, won him admirers both inside and outside of the country scene in the United States as well as abroad.
Perry Como, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson, Jim Reeves, Jerry Reed, Skeeter Davis, Connie Smith, Waylon Jennings, and other artists used Atkins’ records production skills.
Atkins is one of the most well-known figures in Tennessee thanks to his numerous achievements, which include 14 Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
#5. Dolly Parton
Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19, 1946, in Sevierville, Tennessee. She is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress, and philanthropist. She is one of the most influential people in Tennessee and is most recognized for her work in country music.
She has maintained her position as one of the most successful female performers in the history of country music throughout the four and a half decades since her debut on the national charts, earning her the moniker “The Queen of Country Music.”
She is also well known for her distinctive soprano, occasionally raunchy humor, colorful wardrobe, and voluptuous physique.
She referred to her family as being “dirt poor.” In her song “Coat of Many Colors,” she sang of how her family was struggling financially.
Additionally, a big part of her early church experiences was music. She once said during an interview that her grandfather was a “holy-roller” Pentecostal preacher. She still frequently sings spiritual songs when she conducts live concerts.
#6. Sondra Locke
Sondra Locke is one of the most influential people in Tennessee. She was born on May 28, 1947, and is an American actress, singer, and director.
She was born and reared by her parents, Alfred and Pauline Locke, in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Don is her only sibling that is older.
The 1962 graduating class of Shelbyville Central High School had Locke as its valedictorian. She spent a year at Middle Tennessee State University before leaving to pursue a career in acting.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, was also the year she made her film debut.
In 1976 western classic The Outlaw Josey Wales, with Clint Eastwood, Locke played a pioneer woman, giving her career a boost.
#7. Estes Kefauver
One of the most influential people in Tennessee is Estes Kefauver. Carey, The birthdate of Estes Kefauver is July 26, 1903.
He was a Tennessee-born American politician who supported racial equality and opposed the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a powerful, exclusive elite. He was a Democrat who represented the United States in the House of Representatives and the Senate from 1949 until his death in 1963.
He twice ran for president of the United States after leading a highly-publicized investigation into organized crime in the early 1950s.
He was chosen by the Democratic National Convention to be Adlai Stevenson’s vice presidential running mate in 1956.
#8. Benjamin L. Hooks
On January 31, 1925, Benjamin Lawson Hooks was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a Baptist clergyman, an active lawyer, and a leader in American civil rights.
From 1977 until 1992, he was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) executive director. He has been an outspoken advocate for American civil rights throughout his career. Lawyer, minister, and NAACP executive director.
Robert B. Hooks and Bessie White Hooks had a total of seven children, with Benjamin Hooks being the fifth. His father was a photographer who, along with his brother Henry, ran the Hooks Brothers photography business. By the norms of black people of the day, the family was quite comfortable.
He still remembers having to wear hand-me-downs and how his mother had to be frugal with money in order to provide for the family’s needs. He had felt called to the Christian ministry in his adolescence. However, his father disagreed and advised Benjamin against following such a path.
#9. Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore, Jr., who was born on March 31, 1948, but was nurtured in Carthage, Albert Arnold, is one of the most influential people in Tennessee. He was the 45th vice president of the United States, serving under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001.
Currently an author, entrepreneur, and environmental activist from the United States, he appeared in the 2007 Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth 2006.
A Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album was given to Gore in February 2009 for his book An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It.
He spent 24 years in American politics, first in the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1985, then in the Senate from 1985 to 1993, representing Tennessee, before becoming vice president. In the year 2000, Gore was the Democratic Party’s choice for president.
#10. Nikki Giovanni
On June 7, 1943, Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is an American poet, activist, and author who has been nominated for a Grammy. At Virginia Tech, Giovanni is a distinguished professor of English.
Yolande Cornelia, Sr. and Jones “Gus” Giovanni were Nikki’s parents. She was up in the Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb of Lincoln Heights and started her college career at her grandfather’s alma school, Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1960.
She earned a B.A. in history and graduated with honors in 1967. She then attended Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.
At Rutgers University’s Livingston College, Giovanni started his teaching career in 1969. She belongs to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as an Honorary Member.
Additionally, she has authored more than twenty publications, including three anthologies of essays, three collections of poetry, and volumes of children’s books with illustrations. Additionally, Giovanni is among the most important individuals in Tennessee because of how much African American activists and artists have influenced her writing.
#11. Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman is one of the most influential people in Tennessee, and one of the best actors of his generation, noted for his distinctive deep voice.
On June 1, 1937, he was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He has always loved performing, and at the age of 12, he took first place in a state-wide theatrical competition.
Although acting had always been his first love, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to make it his career and instead decided to join the United States Air Force as a radar technician.
He began acting and dancing lessons after quickly realizing that performing was his genuine calling. Furthermore, his amazing performances have earned him several prestigious awards, including ‘Academy Award,’ ‘Screen Actors Guild Award,’ and ‘Golden Globe Award.’
#12. Tina Turner
Anna Mae Bullock is a singer, songwriter, dancer, actor, and novelist better known by her stage name Tina Turner. She is the queen of rock and one of the most well-known female rock performers.
Tina Turner was born on November 26, 1939, to Zelma Priscilla and Floyd Richard Bullock in Tennessee, United States.
Turner has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame and has won numerous Grammy Awards in numerous categories. She has sold more than 100 million copies of her albums worldwide, earning her a spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the greatest vocalists of all time. But she did not experience overnight fame and fortune.
She had no formal singing training, so she had to start from scratch. Above all, she had a difficult upbringing.
Turner, who is semi-retired, has acquired Swiss citizenship and resides there at the moment. She also ranks among the most influential people in Tennessee.
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Randy Orton, also known as Randal Keith Orton, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the United States, on April 1, 1980. He is the child of Elaine and professional wrestler Bob Orton Jr. He has two siblings: a younger brother named Nate, who grew up to become a standup comic, and a sister named Rebecca.
He is a well-known American actor and professional wrestler. Having already won the WWE Championship eight times before, he is presently holding the championship for the ninth time as of May 2017.
He trained on his own while competing against great names and making appearances on numerous shows. At the age of 24, after becoming famous for his hallmark moves, including the gutwrench elevated neck breaker, corner clothesline, diving crossbody, dropkick, and dropkick, Orton became the youngest world champion in the history of the WWE.
He won a number of notable championships as his career developed, including the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
#14. Miley Cyrus
Christened Destiny Hope Cyrus, popularly known as Miley Cyrus, was born on November 23, 1992, to Billy Ray Cyrus, a country musician, and Letitia Jean Tish in Nashville, Tennessee.
Miley Cyrus, a true star-in-the-making, has made a significant transition from being a Disney star to a young pop hit. She became well-known as a “teen idol” thanks to the Disney Channel program “Hannah Montana.” Cyrus is one of the richest teen celebrities of her generation, coming in at number 35 on Forbes magazine’s ranking of the “Celebrity 100”.
This juvenile sensation was the 9th-richest female singer in history when she was 17 and had amassed a fortune by the time she was just a teenager.
In addition, she is one of the most influential people in Tennessee.
#15. Kane Brown
On October 21, 1993, Kane Allen Brown was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a rural area in northwest Georgia. He had a difficult upbringing.
The members of his family frequently moved from one location to another, and he occasionally lived on the streets. Eventually settled permanently in Red Bank, Tennessee.
American country music performer Kane Brown is best known for his top-charting hits “What Ifs,” “Heaven,” and “Used to Love You Sober.” He is already well-known in the country music world despite his youth. He first became interested in music as a young child and was an R&B fanatic.
Kane later began focusing on country music after winning a contest in the 11th grade. He realized his rich voice’s potential and instinctively knew he was destined for success in the country music genre.
He has also received numerous nominations for awards and is the first artist in country music history to simultaneously have a number one hit on each of the top five country charts.
One of the most influential individuals in Tennessee is Kane Brown.
We hope the article helps you know more about Tennessee’s influential people.