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December 28

Hank Williams gave his final performance, for 130 people at a holiday party for members of the Musicians’ Union in Montgomery in 1952.

Johnny Cash pleaded guilty to drug possession in El Paso, TX in 1965. He was busted that October with more than 1,000 pills. A related newspaper photo leads the Ku Klux Klan to boycott Cash concerts under the misguided premise that Cash’s wife was black.

Decca released Loretta Lynn’s Coal Miner’s Daughter album in 1970.

Columbia released Moe Bandy’s It’s A Cheating Situation in 1978. The song features supporting vocals by Janie Fricke¬†

WEA, the distribution company for Warner Bros., Elektra and Atlantic, raised the price of 45 rpm vinyl singles from $1.68 to $1.99 in 1981. The move affected such country acts as Eddie Rabbitt, Hank Williams Jr., Emmylou Harris and Eddy Raven.

The Judds climb to #1 on the Billboard country chart in 1985 with Have Mercy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Roebuck “Pops” Staples was born in Winona, MS in 1915. He eventually formed The Staple Singers with his son and three daughters. The soul group’s Touch A Hand, Make A Friend is remade as a country hit by The Oak Ridge Boys.

Gospel singer Brock Speer was born in Double Springs, AL in 1920. He sang with The Speer Family, and had background vocal parts on three Elvis Presley hits: Heartbreak Hotel, I Was The One and I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.

Joe Diffie was born in Tulsa, OK in 1958. After emerging in 1990, he melded traditional country with borderline-novelties to create a string of hits that includes John Deere Green, Honky Tonk Attitude and Third Rock From The Sun.

Marty Roe was born in Lebanon, OH in 1960. As the lead singer of Diamond Rio, Marty has helped the band bring Vocal Group honors from the Country Music Association four times.