On August 19th, the Historic Gatlinburg had a rare honor bestowed upon it, which is its inclusion as a Tennessee Music Pathways destination. Tennessee Music Pathways is a set of destinations throughout the state that are recognized as playing significant roles in music history. More songs are written, recorded, and played in the state of Tennessee than anywhere else in the world, so Tennessee Music Pathways connects you to the people, places, and events that shaped music history.
The Historic Gatlinburg Inn is recognized as a songwriting mecca, but there is one song in particular that was written here that is one of the most recognized and loved songs of all time – Rocky Top! Rocky Top was written here in 1967 in Room 388, a room we now call the Rocky Top Room.
The new sign tells the story of the writing of Rocky Top – how Boudleaux and Felice Bryant checked into the Inn to write an album of slow songs for Archie Campbell. Felice grew bored of the slow tempo material and asked Boudleaux to play something faster. He started playing that now legendary chord sequence, belted out the first line off the top of his head, and in 15 minutes the song was nearly complete.
First recorded by the Osbourne brothers, the song has now been recorded thousands of times and is a state song of Tennessee, played at every University of Tennessee football game by the Pride of the Southland marching band.
You will now notice the Tennessee Music Pathways marker next to our sign on Parkway in Gatlinburg. The unveiling ceremony also marked the start of the 2021 Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival, a new festival that just started this year that replaces the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival from years past.
To learn more about Tennessee Music Pathways, visit Tennessee Music Pathways | TN Vacation.
Watch the short video below to witness the unveiling for yourself: