Ernest Jennings Ford (February 13, 1919 – October 17, 1991), known professionally as Tennessee Ernie Ford, was an American recording artist and television host.
Ford enjoyed success in the country and Western, pop, and gospel musical genres. Today, he is best remembered for his hit recording of “Sixteen Tons”.
Ford scored an unexpected hit on the pop charts in 1955 with his rendering of “Sixteen Tons”, a sparsely arranged coal-miner’s lament, that Merle Travis first recorded in 1946 reflecting his own family’s experience in the mines of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. The song’s authorship has been claimed by both Travis and George S. Davis. Its fatalistic tone contrasted vividly with the sugary pop ballads and rock & roll just starting to dominate the charts at the time.