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December 22

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Merle Haggard attempted to rob a restaurant in 1957, mistakenly believing it had closed. He was caught and ended up serving time in San Quentin.

The movie “Doctor Zhivago” debuted in American theaters in 1965. The picture’s traveling theme inspired John Hartford to write Gentle On My Mind.

Willie Nelson and Hank Cochran wrote What Can You Do To Me Now in 1969. As if in answer to the question, Nelson’s house burned to the ground the next day.

George Jones was arrested on December 22, 1976. He was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, Linda Welborn, in the previous month. He posted $300 bond and was released. 

Lorrie Morgan and husband Ron Gaddis had a daughter, Morgan Anastasia in 1980. She was later adopted by Keith Whitley, after Lorrie married him in 1986.

In 1984, twelve-year-old Brad Paisley made his first appearance on The Wheeling Jamboree, a WWVA radio show in WV.

Dave Dudley died of a heart attack in Wisconsin in 2003. A former disc jockey, he earned a reputation for his trucker hits, particularly the 1960s classics Six Days On The Road and Truck Drivin’ Son-Of-A-Gun.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Elonzo Huble Williams was born in Macedonia, AL in 1891. His son, Hiram Hank Williams would become one of country music’s legendary figures.

Guitarist Dudley Brooks was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1913. He played on a number of Elvis Presley’s West Coast recordings, including Return To Sender, (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear and Can’t Help Falling In Love.

Hawkshaw Hawkins was born in Huntington, WV in 1921. He scored a handful of hits from 1949-1963, including Slow Poke, Soldier’s Joy and Lonesome 7-7203. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1955. He died in the same plane crash that claimed the lives of Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.

Steel guitarist Don Davis was born in Calvert, AL in 1928. He performed with Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys and Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours, playing on Tubb’s White Christmas and Blue Christmas.

Red Steagall was born in Gainesville, TX in 1937. With a career that darted between western swing and cowboy music, he earned his only hit single with 1976’s Lone Star Beer & Bob Wills Music. He’s also credited with discovering Reba McEntire.

Paul Martin was born in Winchester, KY in 1962. He replaced J.P. Pennington as the lead singer of Exile in 1989. He contributed to the band’s subsequent hits Keep It In The Middle Of The Road, Nobody’s Talking and Even Now. Martin eventually joined Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives until 2014 when he left to focus on his own band, The Martin Family Circus.

Guitarist Chuck Mead was born in Nevada, MO in 1960. He became one of two lead vocalists in BR549, a traditionally-influenced band that emerged from the lower Broadway club scene in Nashville to become a critical favorite in the 1990s.