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December 31

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Roy Rogers married Dale Evans at the Flying L Ranch in Murray County, OK in 1947. Rogers was late for the ceremony, delayed when he put out a fire started by a cigarette butt in another room.

Hank Williams set out from Birmingham to Charleston, WV, for a New Year’s Eve show in 1952. Slowed by snow, he tried to grab a flight in Knoxville, but the flight was cancelled. He got a shot of morphine, then took what proved to be his final ride in the back seat of his blue Cadillac.

Johnny Cash played Camden, NJ in 1961 with June Carter, Flatt & Scruggs and Marty Robbins. While Robbins performed, bass player Marshall Grant tossed an M-80 into a urinal backstage, the resulting blast covered a dressing room in sewage.

Roger Cook and Bobby Wood wrote Talking In Your Sleep in 1976.

Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt flew from Los Angeles to Nashville to begin working with Dolly Parton on a trio album in 1977. It’d be more than nine years before Trio is completed and hits the streets

Epic released George Jones’ Wine Colored Roses album in 1986.

Guitarist Jim McReynolds, of the bluegrass duo Jim & Jesse, died at Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin, TN, of cancer in 2002. Jim & Jesse joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1964, and earned a Congressional Medal of the Arts in the 1990s.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Bass player Pat Brady was born in Toledo, OH in 1893. In 1937, he replaced Roy Rogers as a member of the western harmony act The Sons Of The Pioneers. Sadly, Brady was not part of the lineup that entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980.

Rex Allen was born in Willcox, AZ in 1920. Considered the last of the singing cowboys, the western performer enjoyed a handful of hits, including 1953’s Crying In The Chapel and 1962’s Don’t Go Near The Indians

Fred Carter Jr. was born in Winnsboro, GA in 1933. The father of Deana Carter, he became a Nashville session guitarist, playing on hits by Simon & Garfunkel, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, Marty Robbins and Conway Twitty.

John Denver was born in Roswell, NM in 1943. He straddled pop and country music in the mid-1970s, making him a controversial winner of the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award for 1975.