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January 3

Sam Phillips opened the Sun Recording Studio in 1950. Originally known as the Memphis Recording Service, it remains at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis. It became a site for sessions by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Tom T. Hall threw a party in 1980 for 75 to rally support for Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign. Hall’s Fox Hollow guests included: Bobby Bare, Hank Snow, Skeeter Davis and Jim Ed Brown.

Billy Ray Cyrus signed his first recording contract with Mercury Records in Ashland, KY in 1991. In conjunction with the event, the mayors of Ashland and Flatwoods each proclaim Billy Ray Cyrus Day.

Columbia released Wade Hayes’ debut album Old Enough To Know Better in 1995.

Phil Everly died of a chronic lung disease in Burbank, CA in 2014. He was one-half of The Everly Brothers, whose harmonies were an essential part of such crossover hits as Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie, propelling them into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Everly also wrote Linda Ronstadt’s When Will I Be Loved.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Leon McAuliffe was born in Houston in 1917. He played steel guitar for Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys from 1935-1942, then earned an instrumental hit on his own in 1949 with Panhandle Rag. His Wills credits include Right Or Wrong and Cherokee Maiden.

Maxene Andrews was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1918. With siblings LaVerne and Patty, she formed The Andrews Sisters, a World War II-era pop trio that landed on the country charts during the 1940s in collaborations with Bing Crosby and Ernest Tubb.

Record producer George Martin was born in London, England in 1926. Best known for his work with The Beatles and America, Martin also produced Kenny Rogers’ country album The Heart Of The Matter.

Nikki Nelson was born in San Diego in 1969. She’d take over lead vocals when Paulette Carlson left Highway 101 in 1991.