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Guitar Legend Chet Atkins Dies At 77

Country music innovator Chet Atkins, instrumental in shaping what became the "Nashville Sound," died Saturday, June 30, at his home in Nashville after a long battle with cancer. He was 77.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, July 3 at the Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Old Opry.

More than any other performer, Atkins is credited with turning country music's twangy country sound of the 1950s into the more pop-friendly style of today's country music. Mark Knopfler, Duane Eddy, George Harrison, The Ventures, George Benson and Eddie Cochran are among the legions of musicians he influenced. Atkins recorded more than 75 albums of guitar instrumentals, sold more than 75 million albums, received nine CMA musician of the year awards and 14 Grammys.

As a producer, he worked with Elvis Presley, Don Gibson, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton.

Guitar Player named Atkins the most influential instrumentalist stylist in popular music several years ago.