I met Chet Atkins for the first time in, I believe, 1965, in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida. Chet, Floyd Cramer, and Boots Randolph, [ The
Music Masters ] tour, played at the War Memorial auditorium. After the
show, outside and behind the building, several fans had gathered. I was
among them, hoping for an autograph. The three of them came out and
greeted the small group from an elevated platform, like a loading dock.
Mr. Atkins asked me if he could borrow my pen to sign autographs. I
said, sure. In a minute or so, he handed it back and said thanks. I said
something brilliant, like, your welcome. Having come face to face with
my hero, I was experiencing "brain freeze" for the first time! A
phenomenon that I was to experience several more times in the future,
when meeting him.
As the proceedings were winding down, I noticed a group of the sidemen
from the show were standing under the trees chatting and having a smoke.
Among them was a brash young man that Mr. Atkins had brought on the tour
for exposure. He had a couple of records out that were starting to get
some attention, and I was sure that his would be a big name in the music
business, so i went over and asked for his autograph, which he
And now, nearly forty years later, Chet Atkins is still my hero, both
musically and personally. I still have the program from that show, signed by
those four great men, and will treasure it always.
Oh, that brash fellow under the trees was Jerry Reed, and I believe he
has done quite well in the music business.
- Marvin R. Self, Jr.
The FULL LIST of "When I Met Chet" stories