April 7, 2021 - GALLATIN, TENN. — Sumner County and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development honored the county’s rich musical heritage with the installation of a new Tennessee Music Pathways marker recognizing rhythm and blues and gospel disc jockey, Bill Allen, known as "Hoss" or "Hossman."
At the marker reveal near the Rogan Cottage at Bledsoe’s Fort Historical Park, Commissioner Mark Ezell of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown spoke about the importance of this commemoration.
Also in attendance were Allen’s daughter, Bebe Evans and husband, Frank Evans, Jr. and granddaughter, Marcie Allen and husband, Derek Van Mol. Allen’s family reminisced about their family ties to Rogan Cottage and Allen’s contribution to the music industry and his influence over various artists.
“It’s an honor it is to celebrate the significant accomplishments of Bill Hoss Allen with a new Tennessee Music Pathways marker in his hometown of Gallatin,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “As a radio DJ for 40 years, Bill was a trailblazer—instrumental in expanding the reach of R&B and soul music. We’re pleased to share this day with his family.”Pioneering rhythm and blues (R&B) and gospel disc jockey Bill "Hoss" Allen worked in radio for more than 40 years. During the 1950s, '60s and '70s, Allen's nightly shows on WLAC Nashville played a pivotal role in broadcasting the base of R&B and soul music. Allen helped launch artists James Brown and Otis Redding, and several artists cited Allen's influence including Bob Seger, The Band and Waylon Jennings.
He also created a television series, "The !!!! Beat," featuring many of the top R&B stars of the 1960s: Etta James, Freddie King, Percy Sledge and more. Later, Allen hosted a long-running gospel radio show. Allen passed away on Feb. 25, 1997. In 1994, Allen, together with two other pioneering WLAC disc jockeys were inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2010, Allen was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Launched by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in 2018, Tennessee Music Pathways is an online planning guide that connects visitors to the state's rich musical heritage at tnmusicpathways.com. From the largest cities to the smallest communities, Tennessee Music Pathways stretches across all 95 counties and features hundreds of landmarks from the seven genres of music that call Tennessee home.
The family’s wish was to have the TMP marker recognizing Bill “Hoss” Allen placed near the Rogan Cottage at Bledsoe’s Fort Historical Park in Castalian Springs. Allen is a descendent of Hugh Rogan, an Irish immigrant who settled in Sumner County, Tenn. Rogan came to this area with a surveying party and explored the Cumberland Valley, taking an active role in its settlement. The family home, Rogana, was built to resemble the architecture from his native Ireland.
In 1998, Bledsoe’s Lick Historical Association moved the house and reconstructed it stone by stone at the historical park in Castalian Springs. Rogana is significant for its association with Hugh Rogan and the Catholic Church in Tenn., and as a rare example of traditional Irish farmhouse architecture.
For those interested in viewing the new TMP marker recognizing Bill “Hoss” Allen, Bledsoe’s Fort Historical Park will be participating in Sumner County’s Historic Sites Kickoff on Saturday, April 10. The annual Historic Sites Kickoff celebrates the opening season of the county’s historical sites. The Rogan Cottage, which sits near the TMP marker, will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sumner County Tourism is a 501(c)(6) non-profit destination marketing organization that promotes and encourages tourism to and within Sumner County, Tennessee.
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