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January 12

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RCA released Wanted: The Outlaws in 1976. The album features Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser and became country music’s first million selling album.

MCA released George Strait’s album Ocean Front Property in 1987. It became country music’s first album to debut at #1.

During a trip to the doctor’s office in 1990, Naomi Judd asked a nurse to run a blood test. By the following Monday, she would be diagnosed with a potentially fatal strain of hepatitis.

Johnny Paycheck was released from a prison in Chillicothe, OH in 1991. He served two years for shooting a man in a Hillsboro, OH bar during December 1985. Paycheck was originally sentenced to seven years.

NASCAR driver Ryan Newman paid almost $40,000 for a George Jones guitar during a 2007 charity auction at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Also at the event: Mel Tillis, Martina McBride, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, Aaron Tippin, Bill Anderson and Craig Morgan.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Maurice “Tex” Ritter was born near Murvaul, TX in 1905. As a successful silver-screen cowboy, he built a music career on top of his acting, with the theme to High Noon and several recitations. He joins the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1964.

Songwriter Tex Grimsley was born in Logansport, LA in 1917. He wrote Webb Pierce’s 1953 hit I’m Walking The Dog.

Ira Hayes  was born in Sacaton, AZ in 1923. He was one of the six soldiers who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi during the invasion of Iwo Jima, but he struggled afterward with the mantel of heroism. His story inspired Johnny Cash’s The Ballad Of Ira Hayes.

Ray Price was born in Peach, TX in 1926. Nicknamed the “Cherokee Cowboy,” he was instrumental in the growth of the country shuffle and the use of recorded strings. His legacy includes Crazy Arms, For The Good Times, I’ve Got A New Heartache and a plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame

William Lee Golden was born in Brewton, AL in 1939. He joined The Oak Ridge Boys in January 1965, aiding their leap from gospel to country to pop. A baritone with a mountain-man image, he left the group in 1987, but returned 10 years later

Ricky Van Shelton was born in Grit, VA in 1952. A smooth and powerful vocalist, Shelton earned a reputation for revitalizing country staples such as From A Jack To A King and Statue Of A Fool, winning the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year in 1989.