Homer and Jethro

Also Known As: Henry D. “Homer” Haynes , Kenneth C. “Jethro” Burns

Updated: March 01, 2011

Country music comedy duo.

Homer (b. July 27, 1920) and Jethro (b. March 10, 1920), natives of Knoxville and Conasauga, Tennessee, respectively, are among the best-known comedy acts in country music history. Originally known as “Junior” and “Dude,” the duo began playing together as the String Dusters in 1932, per- forming and developing their talents as song parodists over WNOX in Knoxville. Their permanent nicknames were bestowed by a WNOX radio announcer who had forgotten their original names. In 1938 Homer and Jethro moved to the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.

Following military service during World War II, Homer and Jethro resumed their radio performance career and were signed by King Records in 1946, where they had their first hits. They moved to RCA Victor in 1949, remaining with that label until 1971. Their greatest successes came in the 1950s and 1960s, including their 1959 Grammy Award–winning song “The Battle of Kookamonga” (a parody of Jimmie Driftwood’s “Battle of New Orleans”), their hit 1960 live album Homer and Jethro at the Country Club, and their popular commercials for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Less well known were their RCA albums of string jazz, produced by Chet Atkins. Following Homer’s death on August 7, 1971, Jethro began a second career appearing at folk and bluegrass festivals, often with singer-songwriter Steve Goodman. In the 1970s and 1980s, Burns served as a role model and inspiration for a new generation of bluegrass and jazz mandolinists. He died February 4, 1989.

Homer and Jethro’s material, while often humorous in the country “corn” mode and aimed at a regional audience, was in fact innovative and musically sophisticated. The duo was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

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"Homer and Jethro," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2018, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 19 Oct 2018 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=115>

APA Style

"Homer and Jethro." (2018) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved October 19, 2018, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=115

Homer and Jethro