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February 20

Tennessee Ernie Ford became the first country artist to receive a gold album from the Recording Industry Association of America, for his Hymns release in 1959.

T.G. Sheppard’s Only One You reached #1 on the Billboard country singles chart in 1982.

Randy Travis performed Forever And Ever, Amen as  the musical guest on a Tom Hanks-hosted episode of  Saturday Night Live on NBC in 1988.

Merle Haggard went to #1 on the Billboard country singles chart for the last time with Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star in 1988.

Alan Jackson set off on the first major concert tour of his career in 1990. He opened for Clint Black in Belton, TX.

Songwriter Larry Kingston died in a Nashville hospital, three days after a heart attack in 2005. His credits include The Kendalls’ Pittsburgh Stealers, Jerry Lee Lewis’ He Can’t Fill My Shoes and Roy Clark’s Thank God And Greyhound.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Movie producer Robert Altman was born in Kansas City, MO in 1925. He co-wrote John Anderson’s 1983 hit Black Sheep and produced the 1975 picture Nashville, an unflattering behind-the-scenes piece of fiction about Music Row.

Kathie Baillie, of Baillie & The Boys, was born in Morristown, NJ in 1951. She sang on seven Top 10 singles for the trio–which became a duo after its first album–from 1987-1990, including Oh Heart, Long Shot and (I Wish I Had A) Heart Of Stone.

Bluegrass performer Claire Lynch was born in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1954. The plaintive singer began her career with The Front Porch String Band, earning Grammy nominations with two solo albums, Moonlighter and Silver And Gold.

Mandolin player Chris Thile was born in Oceanside, CA in 1981. He came to prominence with bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, then established a five-piece progressive bluegrass band, The Punch Brothers.