Quiz: How Much Do You Know About American Music?

Americana, Featured Article, History, Trivia
on March 7, 2014
Elvis Prestley at microphone
The King's first single was "That's All Right."

The United States is the birthplace of several music genres, including bluegrass, jazz and rock ’n’ roll. What do you know about the founding fathers and anointed royalty of American music? Test your knowledge with these 25 questions.

1) W.C. Handy, the Father of the Blues, was born in:
a) Clarksdale, Mississippi
b) Florence, Alabama
c) Memphis, Tennessee
d) New Orleans, Louisiana

2) This singer was dubbed Empress of the Blues:
a) Bessie Smith
b) Koko Taylor
c) Dinah Washington
d) All of the above

3) Which artist is considered the Father of the Delta Blues?
a) Robert Johnson
b) Charley Patton
c) Muddy Waters
d) None of the above


4) What was the nickname of Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music?
a) Boxcar Jimmie
b) Railroad Rodgers
c) The Singing Brakeman
d) All of the above

5) What was the first hit song recorded by Roy Acuff, the King of Country Music?
a) “The Great Speckled Bird”
b) “Tennessee Waltz”
c) “Wabash Cannonball”
d) “Worried Mind”

6) Who was the first Queen of Country Music?
a) Patsy Cline
b) Loretta Lynn
c) Dolly Parton
d) Kitty Wells

7) Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music, debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in:
a) 1925
b) 1929
c) 1939
d) None of the above

8) Known as the King of Western Swing, Bob Wills played this instrument:
a) Banjo
b) Fiddle
c) Guitar
d) Steel guitar


9) Okemah, Oklahoma, was the birthplace of this founding father of American folk music:
a) Bob Dylan
b) Stephen Foster
c) Woody Guthrie
d) Pete Seeger

10) Odetta was anointed Queen of American Folk Music by:
a) Joan Baez
b) Lead Belly
c) Martin Luther King Jr.
d) None of the above

11) Thomas A. Dorsey, the Father of Gospel Music, wrote this song:
a) “If You See My Savior”
b) “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”
c) “Peace in the Valley”
d) All of the above

12) Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel, was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in:
a) 1978
b) 1988
c) 1997
d) None of the above


13) Credited as the founder of jazz, cornet player Charles “Buddy” Bolden was born in:
a) Jackson, Louisiana
b) Jackson, Mississippi
c) New Orleans, Louisiana
d) None of the above

14) The 1920s bandleader Paul Whiteman was known as:
a) The King of Jazz
b) The Duke of Jazz
c) The Jack of Jazz
d) None of the above

15) In 1938, Ella Fitzgerald, the Queen of Jazz, scored a No. 1 hit with:
a) “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”
b) “Love and Kisses”
c) “My Melancholy Baby”
d) None of the above

16) Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, played this instrument:
a) Clarinet
b) Saxophone
c) Trombone
d) Xylophone

17) In what state was Scott Joplin, the Father of Ragtime, born?
a) Arkansas
b) Missouri
c) Texas
d) None of the above


18) Blues legend Robert Johnson sometimes is called the:
a) Architect of Rock ’n’ Roll
b) Elder of Rock ’n’ Roll
c) Grandfather of Rock ’n’ Roll
d) None of the above

19) Disc jockey Alan Freed is considered the Father of Rock ’n’ Roll because:
a) He coined the phrase.
b) He promoted the music.
c) He played early rock ’n’ roll records on the air.
d) All of the above

20) Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, recorded these two songs for his first
commercial record:
a) “All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock”
b) “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “That’s All Right (Mama)”
c) “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Heartbreak Hotel”
d) “Hound Dog” and “Love Me Tender”

21) Dubbed the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll, Tina Turner was born:
a) Aillene Bullock
b) Anna Mae Bullock
c) Georgeanna Bullock
d) None of the above

22) When did Carl Perkins, the King of Rockabilly, write “Blue Suede Shoes”?
a) 1955
b) 1956
c) 1957
d) None of the above


23) Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, scored a No. 1 pop hit in 1967 with:
a) “Chain of Fools”
b) “Respect”
c) “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
d) None of the above

24) Marvin Gaye, the Prince of Soul, was born in:
a) Chicago, Illinois
b) Los Angeles, California
c) Washington, D.C.
d) None of the above

25) James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, was nicknamed:
a) Mr. Dynamite
b) The Hardest Working Man in Show Business
c) Soul Brother No. 1
d) All of the above

1) b 2) a 3) b 4) c 5) a 6) d 7) c 8) b 9) c 10) c 11) d 12) c 13) c 14) a 15) a 16) a 17) c 18) c 19) d 20) b 21) b 22) a 23) b 24) c 25) d