Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Ralph S. Peer ~ (1892 - 1960)

Marker ID:  
Location: 830 State Street, Bristol, TN
County: Sullivan
Coordinates: N 36° 35.701    W 082° 11.265
  36.59501666    -82.18775
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: None


Ralph S. Peer was born in 1892 in Independence, Missouri. He grew up in the record business, working in the shop where his father sold phonographs and recordings for the Columbia Graphophone Company.

After service in WWI, as a talent scout for the Okeh record label during the early 1920's, Peer made the landmark recordings of Fiddlin' John Carson, Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman, Al Hopkins' Hill Billies, and others. In late July and early August of 1927, shortly after he joined the Victor Talking Machine Company, he discovered and recorded the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers in Bristol, Tennessee, producing what is now referred to as the "Bristol Sessions".

Those sessions, which were recorded just east of here in the 400 block of State Street, led to the designation of Bristol as the "Birthplace of Country Music" by both houses of the United States Congress in 1998.

Peer formed the first major country music publishing firm, Southern Music Publishing Company, Inc. in 1928. Subsequently called peermusic, the firm now operates worldwide.

Erected by Matthew & Kay Mills.