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December 6

Huddie Ledbetter died in New York City in 1949. Better known as Leadbelly, the blues pioneer made a mark in country music when his composition Goodnight Irene became a hit for both Moon Mullican and the duo of Red Foley & Ernest Tubb.

Carl Smith and June Carter divorced in 1956 after four years of marriage.

Forty songwriters attended the inaugural meeting of the Nashville Songwriters Association International in 1967. They included Kris Kristofferson, Marijohn Wilkin, Eddie Miller, Boudleaux and Felice Bryant and Liz and Casey Anderson.

The Rolling Stones’ free show at Altamont, CA in 1969, went awry as one concert-goer was stabbed to death by Hell’s Angels. Also on the bill: The Flying Burrito Brothers, including Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons, performing Six Days On The Road.

Moe Bandy recorded Bandy The Rodeo Clown at Nashville’s Columbia Studio B in 1974.

Johnny Cash performed (Ghost) Riders In The Sky in 1979 during his annual CBS Christmas special. Musical guest Anne Murray sang You Needed Me, and Tom T. Hall added (Old Dogs-Children And) Watermelon Wine. Also appearing are June Carter Cash and comedian Andy Kaufman.

Ronnie Milsap’s Smoky Mountain Rain topped the Billboard country chart on December 6, 1980.

Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson recorded Highwayman at Nashville’s Moman Studios in 1984. Marty Stuart played on the session on guitar. 

George Strait appeared at #1 on the Billboard country chart in 1986 with It Ain’t Cool To Be Crazy About You.

Roy Orbison died of a heart attack in 1988. Though based in Music City, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s only country hits came in his 1980 duet with Emmylou Harris, That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again, and his posthumous release You Got It.

Recording began in 1988 for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Volume 2 with Johnny Cash, John Denver, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs, Steve Wariner, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, The Whites, Chris Hillman and others.

The Eagles reunited after a “13-year hiatus” in 1993 when Travis Tritt shot a video in Los Angeles for Take It Easy.

Center Street publishes Naomi Judd’s book River Of Time: My Descent Into Depression And How I Emerged With Hope in 2016.


Guitarist and bass player Jack Cooke was born in 1936. As one of Bill Monroe’s BlueGrass Boys, he appears on the 1959 hit Gotta Travel On. He eventually joined Ralph Stanley where he was a member of the Clinch Mountain Boys for 39 years

Helen Cornelius was born in Hannibal, MO in 1941. She joined Jim Ed Brown to develop seven hit singles from 1976-1980, including I Don’t Want To Have To Marry You, which won the Country Music Association’s 1977 Vocal Duo of the Year honor.

Bill Lloyd was born in Fort Hood, TX in 1955. Teamed with Radney Foster, the duo Foster & Lloyd became a major proponent in the late-1980s of rockabilly-tinged country, netting hits with Sure Thing and Crazy Over You before their 1991 split.