Country musician. Born February 22, 1920. Died October 3, 1989. Pianist. Real name: Polly Adelaide Hendricks. Recognized for her trademark ragtime style. Her 1951 hit “Down Yonder” made her the first female instrumentalist to achieve a million-selling record. Recorded for the RCA, Decca, Mercury, and Columbia record labels. Joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1953.
1976 March 4
(2 hours, 3 minutes)
Musician Del Wood talks about her career experiences as one of a small number of professional women instrumentalists. Discussion includes her introduction to the piano; her early interest in becoming a Grand Ole Opry performer; comments on her development as a performer; her career prior to working as a professional musician, including her work as a musician selling sheet music; her early recordings, including “Down Yonder”; the beginning of her career success; experiences from her early performances and comments on adjusting to life as a performer; her association with MCA records; her first Opry appearances; balancing a career and motherhood; changes associated with moving the Opry from the Ryman to the Opry House; the development of her piano style; and comments on her long association with the Opry.