Doc hopkins

Doc Hopkins - 2015 Inductee

During the 1930’s and ‘40’s, the Chicago based WLS National Barn Dance show began each broadcast for their coast-to-coast radio audience with this opening line, “And now let’s welcome, “Americas favorite singer of American folk songs, Doc Hopkins.” As one of the founders of the Cumberland Ridge Runners, Doc Hopkins played and performed over seven decades for audiences as one of our nation’s most beloved and well- respected folk singers.

Legends of the mountains say a family’s seventh born son is destined to become a doctor by profession. Thus, the first name “Doctor,” was given to Doctor Howard Hopkins; born January 26, 1899 in Possum Hollow,
Harlan County, Kentucky; the seventh son of eight boys and one girl. When Doc was still young, his family moved to Rockcastle County, Kentucky, where he grew up on a farm and attended school in a one-room log house at Red Bud. At about the age of five and six, Doc began playing banjo on an instrument his father crafted from a cigarbox, the neck of a cedar tree and a possum skin. At the age of ten he began performing in
medicine shows with Dakota Jack Pearsley in and around central Kentucky.

At 18, Doc entered the U.S. Army and served two years in France during World War I. He was honorably discharged at the end of the war. Following his time in the service, Doc traveled and performed in medicine shows all across the country. Upon returning home he formed the band the Krazy Kats and performed during half time of sporting events and occasionally on local radio broadcasts.

In the early 30’s, John Lair, a friend from his Red Bud school days, managed a show at WLS in Chicago and encouraged Doc and his band to travel to Chicago to perform on the radio. Along with John’s help managing the group, the boys moved to Chicago and renamed the band The Cumberland Ridge Runners.

For two decades Doc Hopkins was featured on top rated, nationally broadcast radio programs, including “The Dinner Bell Program,” the, “Smile a While Program,” and the “Merry-Go-Round” show. Doc was a master at singing the old mountain ballads and American Folk songs. Thousands of fans across the country fell in love with his style of music and his down-home folksy renditions of “I’m here to get my baby out of jail,” “Honey in the Rock,” “My Grandfather’s Clock” and “We Buried Her Beneath the Willow.”


Doc’s unique way of combining his spoken word with music and his accomplished three-finger-and-thumb guitar style, won the admiration of music fans across the country, but it was Doc’s humble good natured
personality that won the HEARTS of his fans – he was once asked about his talents as a musician and a singer- Doc simply said, “I just sing the same as all us folks do down in Kentucky.”

Just like in the early days of traveling across the nation, playing at medicine shows and performing on our country’s highest rated radio broadcasts, Doctor Howard Hopkins will always be known as: “Doc Hopkins, America’s Favorite Singer of American Folk songs."

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum
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  2. Billy Ray Cyrus - 2018 Inductee
  3. Jason Crabb - 2018 Inductee
  4. Jackie DeShannon - 2018 Inductee
  5. David "Stringbean" Akeman - 2018 Inductee
  6. Bobby Lewis - 2018 Inductee
  7. Exile - 2011 Inductees
  8. The Kentucky Headhunters - 2013 Inductees
  9. Jerry Chestnut - 2004 Inductee
  10. John Lee Lair - 2002 Inductee
  11. Red Foley - 2002 Inductee
  12. Coon Creek Girls - 2004 Inductees
  13. Ulys R "Red" Turner - Renfro Valley Performer
  14. Old Joe Clark - 2013 Inductee
  15. Merle Travis - 2002 Inductee
  16. Loretta Lynn - 2002 Inductee
  17. JD Crowe - 2004 Inductee
  18. Bradley Kincaid - 2002 Inductee
  19. Jean Ritchie - 2002 Inductee
  20. Tom T Hall - 2002 Inductee
  21. Pete Stamper - 2015 Inductee
  22. Steve Wariner - 2011 Inductee
  23. Bradley Kincaid - 2002 Inductee
  24. Bill Monroe - 2002 Inductee
  25. Dwight Yoakam - 2008 Inductee
  26. John Conlee - 2006 Inductee
  27. Louis Marshall "Grandpa Jones" - 2002 Inductee
  28. Keith Whitley - 2011 Inductee
  29. Ricky Skaggs - 2004 Inductee
  30. Brian Littrell & Kevin Richardson of The Backstreet Boys - 2015 Inductees
  31. Patty Loveless - 2011 Inductee
  32. Montgomery Genrty - 2015 Inductees
  33. John Michael Montgomery - 2011 Inductee
  34. The Judds - 2006 Inductees
  35. The Everly Brothers - 2002 Inductees
  36. Boots Randolph - 2004 Inductee
  37. Sam Bush - 2006 Inductee
  38. The Goins Brothers
  39. Crystal Gayle - 2008 Inductee
  40. Dottie Rambo - 2006 Inductee
  41. Florence Henderson - 2008 Inductee
  42. Steven Curtis Chapman - 2013 Inductee
  43. Doc Hopkins - 2015 Inductee
  44. The Osborne Brothers - 2002 Inductees
  45. Howard and Vestal Goodman - 2004 Inductees
  46. The Coon Creek Girls - 2004 Inductees
  47. Billy Vaughn - 2004 Inductee
  48. Todd Duncan - 2006 Inductee
  49. Mary Travers - 2006 Inductee
  50. John Jacob Niles - 2006 Inductee
  51. Norro Wilson - 2008 Inductee
  52. Les McCann - 2008 Inductee
  53. Molly O'Day - 2011 Inductee