When he wasn’t on tour, in the studio, practicing, or tinkering with his guitars, Chet Atkins somehow found time for hobbies other than his first love, music.
Relaxin’ With Atkins
Chet Atkins kept this golf ball as a souvenir of a hole-in-one he shot in 1980.
Program for the Ninth Annual Chet Atkins Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament
An avid golfer, Chet’s wife, Leona, holds one of her golf trophies.
Chet’s golf clubs with his cgp towel
Chet Atkins on the putting green
Gone golfing note from Chet Atkins
Chet Atkins in a reflective moment on the golf course
Chet Atkins’s Nikon Camera
Chet Atkins snapping photos
Chet Atkins was an avid ham radio operator
Chet Atkins’s ham-radio call letters
While working as a staff guitarist at WLW–Cincinatti in 1945, Chet Atkins met and fell in love with Leona Johnson of the Johnson Sisters duo, another of the station’s acts. Chet and Leona married the next year, and stayed together for the rest of Chet’s life. Their daughter and only child, Merle, was born in 1947.
Chet Atkins and Leona Johnson at WLW-Cincinatti, c. 1945.
Leona and Chet Atkins in 1965.
Chet and Leona Atkins share a kiss.
Note from Chet Atkins to his wife, Leona, written in the 1950s.
Leona, Chet, and Merle Atkins, c. 1950.
Chet Atkins and his grandson Jonathan Russell.
Chet and his mother, Ida Sharp Atkins.
Like father, like son... Chet Atkins and his dad, James Arley Atkins.
White House Memories
Between 1961 and 1995, Chet Atkins met and performed for six United States Presidents.
Wings Over Nashville
In 1974, Paul and Linda McCartney and their band Wings recorded their hit single “Junior”s Farm” in Nashville. While in town, Paul recorded “Walking in the Park with Eloise,” a song written by his father, with Chet Atkins and pianist Floyd Cramer. It was released as a single that year under the name the Country Hams. These photos and letters document the friendship that developed between Chet and Leona Atkins and Paul and Linda McCartney.