ASCAP was formed at the Hotel Claridge in New York City in 1914. The performing rights agency–the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers–collects and distributes royalties to songwriters for the public use of their works. Every radio station you listen to, every concert venue you attend, every restaurant you eat in pay organizations like ASCAP for the rights to play music in (or from) their facility.
Four weeks after his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1943, Ernest Tubb became an official Opry member during a broadcast from Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium
Bill Monroe held his first Columbia session in 1945, recording Kentucky Waltz and Footprints In The Snow at the Wrigley Building in Chicago. Chubby Wise plays fiddle, and David “Stringbean” Akeman sits in on banjo.
Hank Williams recorded Honky Tonkin’ for the first time at the WSM Studios in Nashville in 1947 for Sterling Records. He also recorded Pan American. The date marked the first commercial recording session for legendary fiddler Tommy Jackson.
The Bill Anderson Show debuted on TV in 1965, where it remained in syndication for the next nine years.
Sammi Smith went to #1 in Billboard in 1971 with the Kris Kristofferson-penned Help Me Make It Through The Night
Some 200 music industry friends joined Johnny Cash at his home in Hendersonville, TN in 1980. The event celebrated Cash’s 25th anniversary in show business. The centerpiece for the gathering was a 28-inch bust of Cash made from lard.
George Strait recorded I’ve Come To Expect It From You in an afternoon session at Nashville’s Emerald Sound Studios in 1990.
Waylon Jennings died at his home in AZ in 2002, following a lengthy battle with diabetes. Branded a musical outlaw for his renegade spirit, his raw-edged style brought him into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, just three months before his passing.
Banjo great Earl Scruggs received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.
Mel Tillis received a National Medal of Arts from president Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C. in 2012.
Tennessee Ernie Ford was born in Bristol, TN in 1919. His 1955 hit Sixteen Tons was the musical high point of a career that includes radio, recording, his own network TV show, and a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Songwriter Boudleaux Bryant was born in Shellman, GA in 1920. Bryant wrote such titles as Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love, All I Have To Do Is Dream and Hole In My Pocket–many with wife Felice–on his way to the Country Music Hall of Fame
Guitarist Jim McReynolds was born in Carfax, VA in 1927. With his brother, he formed Jim & Jesse, a bluegrass duo that began recording in 1951, joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1964. They gained a Congressional Medal of the Arts in the 1990s.