'Hillbilly' Music: Billboard Debuted Country Hits For The First Time

Today's country and rock music owe their beginnings to "hillbilly" music. (Photo by D. Corson/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

For a long time, country music (or "hillbilly" music, as it was originally called) was stereotyped as a lower art form, but the "hillbilly" sound signified a rich culture that birthed some of the world's best songwriters and musicians. That's why, on this day in 1939, Billboard debuted its "Hillbilly Hits" chart, highlighting the smash singles of the genre. Let's look at the origins of "hillbilly" music and how it moved from the porches of Appalachia to mainstream America after it hit the Billboard charts.