Roy Claxton Acuff (15 September 1903 - 23 November 1992) was an American musician.
Born in Maynardville, Tennessee, third of five children. He played semi-professional baseball, but an injury in 1929 and a nervous breakdown in 1930 ended his aspirations to play for the New York Yankees. He then turned his attention to his father's fiddle and began playing traveling medicine show. He toured the southern United States. He eventually formed a band "The Crazy Tennesseans".
In 1936, he recorded a cover of the traditional song "The Great Speckled Bird". His performance of it in his Grand Ole Opry debut was not well received. Acuff became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry in 1938, forming a backing band called the Smoky Mountain Boys.
Acuff released several singles in the 1940s such as "The Wreck on the Highway," "Beneath That Lonely Mound of Clay" and "The Precious Jewel". He later formed a music publishing venture Chicago songwriter Fred Rose. Hank Williams, the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison all initially signed with Rose-Acuff.
Acuff had a brief affair with politics, losing a run for the office of Governor of Tennessee in 1948.
Acuff spent most of the 1950s and 1960s touring constantly, becoming one of the hottest tickets in country music. By the time the 1970s rolled around Acuff performed almost exclusively with the Grand Ole Opry, greatly legitimizing it as the top institution in country music.
A popular legend is that Japanese troops during World War II would enter battle yelling, "To hell with Roy Acuff."