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October 23

An ABC-TV special, “The Grand Ole Opry At 50: A Nashville Celebration,” was taped at the Grand Ole Opry House in 1975. Performers include Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Minnie Pearl, Charley Pride, Porter Wagoner and Roy Clark.

We lost Mother Maybelle Carter in 1978. The Carter Family became the first family of country music after a 1927 session. The trio broke up in 1943, but she rallied her daughters and kept performing. The original lineup joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970.

MCA released Tanya Tucker’s “TNT” album in 1978. It was her 2nd highest ranking album ever and reached #2 on the Billboard Country Charts. It even made it to #54 on the pop charts.  While not necessarily embraced by the country music establishment, the album garnered critical and commercial success. It was certified Gold by the RIAA and earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance – Female.

The Oak Ridge Boys were at Woodland Sound in Nashville on the afternoon of October 23, 1979. The quartet recorded “Trying To Love Two Women” – a song that would become their third #1 hit in April 1980.  

Elektra/Curb released the Hank Williams Jr. album “Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound” in 1979. It was Hank Jr’s 13th studio album and was his second album in the same year – Family Tradition was released in April 1979. It peaked at #5. 

Merle Watson died in 1985 following a North Carolina tractor accident. The son of Doc Watson, he played banjo and guitar with his influential father from 1964 until his death. MerleFest in nearby Wilksboro, NC is a tribute to to the talented musician.

Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash filed for divorce in 1991, citing “irreconcilable differences”

George Strait’s “Easy Come, Easy Go” hits #1 on the Billboard country chart in 1993.

Barbara Mandrell performed her final concert in 1997, billed as “The Last Dance,” at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House. She planned to become an actress full-time. Reba McEntire attended the show and provided emotional support backstage.

After six years of marriage, Lorrie Morgan filed for divorce from Sammy Kershaw in 2007. The court papers were filed in Sumner County, TN Chancery Court. Sammy was her 5th husband – the marriage ended due to irreconcilable differences. 

The late Vern Gosdin enters the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017. Also inducted are “Friends In Low Places” author Dewayne Blackwell, “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” writer Walt Aldridge, “Chattahoochee” composer Jim McBride and “Live Like You Were Dying” writer Tim Nichols.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

David Wills was born in Pulaski, TN in 1951. He records two Charlie Rich-produced hits in the ’70s and writes George Strait’s “If You’re Thinking You Want A Stranger (There’s One Coming Home)” and John Schneider’s “You’re The Last Thing I Needed Tonight”

Dwight Yoakam was born in Pikeville, KY in 1956. With an edgy vocal style and a proclivity for roots music, he becomes one of country’s most creative forces, augmenting such iconic hits as “Honky Tonk Man,” “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” and “Fast As You” with a side career as an actor.