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December 8

The day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Tommy Duncan announced his intention to leave Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys to join the war.

Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs performed together on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time as members of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1945. The moment at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium is a seminal bluegrass event.

The Country Music Association hired its first employee in 1958. Secretary Jo Walker-Meador later ascends to executive director, ultimately joining the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Disc jockey Alan Freed pleaded guilty in 1962 to taking $2,000 in 1958 in exchange for airplay. He received a $300 fine and six months probation for violating payola laws. His name is among the credits on The Forester Sisters’ hit “Sincerely”

Mel Tillis recorded Life Turned Her That Way in 1966.

In 1973 Skeeter Davis sang Amazing Grace on the Grand Ole Opry and spoke out against Nashville police for arresting members of a “Christ Is The Answer” rally, made up predominantly of “hippies.” As a result, the Opry suspends her for 15 months.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw recorded Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry in a 1975 midday session at Nashville’s US Recording Studio.

Glen Campbell sat in for Johnny Carson as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show in 1975.

Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter record Storms Never Last in 1980.

There’s No Gettin’ Over Me became Ronnie Milsap’s fifth gold album in 1981.

Marty Robbins died of a heart attack in 1982. It was just two months after his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His decades long career was marked by love songs, pop crossover hits and the classic Western story song “El Paso”

Actor Louis Lindley Jr.–a.k.a. Slim Pickens–died of a brain tumor in Modesto, CA in 1983. A frequent sidekick of Rex Allen in 1950s westerns, he also worked with Kris Kristofferson and appeared in Willie Nelson’s 1980 picture Honeysuckle Rose.

MCA released Steve Wariner’s Small Town Girl in 1986.

Clint Black’s 1987 showcase for RCA executives at Houston’s Backstage Bar was successful! Three months later, he recorded his first album.

Mike Reid was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in Kings Island, Ohio in 1987 – honoring his Outland Trophy-winning career at Penn State.

Joe Diffie recorded his first single, Home, at The Bennett House in Nashville in 1989.

Arista released Alan Jackson’s first hit, Here In The Real World on this date in 1989.

Roy Acuff became the first country artist recognized in the Kennedy Center Honors in 1991. The ceremony was attended by president George Bush. Among the participants in the Washington, D.C., ceremony, shot for a CBS-TV special: Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Steve Wariner and Bill Monroe.

Bass player Dan “Bee” Spears died of exposure after falling outside his Nashville home in 2001. During 40 years with Willie Nelson’s band, Spears contributed to such hits as Whiskey River, Georgia On My Mind and Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Music executive Irving Waugh was born in 1912. He became a leader at WSM Radio and is responsible for the development of Opryland.

Music publisher Jack Stapp was born in Nashville in 1912. He co-founds Tree Publishing, which holds copyrights for Heartbreak Hotel, I Fall To Pieces and King Of The Road, among others. He joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.

Singer/songwriter Floyd Tillman was born in Ryan, OK in 1914. Noted for writing Slipping Around and I Love You So Much It Hurts, he entered the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984.

Appalachian folk singer, songwriter and dulcimer player Jean Ritchie was born in Viper, KY in 1922. She influenced The Judds on her way to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

Gregg Allman, of The Allman Brothers Band, was born in Nashville in 1947. The southern-rock singer and keyboard player wrote Midnight Rider, remade as a 1980 country hit by Willie Nelson

Marty Raybon was born in Greenville, AL in 1959. As the lead singer for Shenandoah, he put an identifiable stamp on Two Dozen Roses, The Church On Cumberland Road and If Bubba Can Dance.