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January 5

Two singles tied for the #1 position on the Billboard country chart in 1946: Tex Ritter’s You Will Have To Pay and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys’ White Cross On Okinawa.

In 1953 Decca released Webb Pierce’s two-sided single, I’ll Go On Alone backed by That’s Me Without You.

Hank Locklin recorded Please Help Me, I’m Falling at RCA Studio B in 1960. The session marks the development of Floyd Cramer’s “slip-note” style of playing piano.

Six months after he was snubbed by Bill Monroe, Ralph Rinzler was reintroduced to the bluegrass legend in 1963 at a party in New York. By the end of the evening, Rinzler was Monroe’s manager, in charge of resurrecting his career.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded Another Place, Another Time at the Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville in 1968.

Larry Gatlin held his first recording session at the Monument Studios in Nashville in 1972.

John Anderson recorded his first Top 10 single, 1959 on this date in 1979.

Earl Scruggs and Tom T. Hall recorded an early version of the Alabama hit Song Of The South in Nashville in 1982. Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash and The Oak Ridge Boys lend backing vocals. In the band: Randy Scruggs, Byron Berline and Jerry Douglas.

Sony bought CBS Records in 1988. The deal included the contracts of Ricky Van Shelton, George Jones, Ricky Skaggs and Tammy Wynette.

Tanya Tucker recorded Garth Brooks’ The Thunder Rolls in 1989. It remained “in the vault” until the 1994 release of her box set, Tanya Tucker.

Hank Williams Jr. appeared on Hot Country Nights in 1992. without a beard. It was the first time he’d been seen clean-shaven since a mountain-climbing accident in August 1975. Also featured: Billy Dean, Tammy Wynette, Patty Loveless and Sawyer Brown.

Waylon Jennings played Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium for the last time in 2000. Travis Tritt joined him on I’ve Always Been Crazy and Montgomery Gentry contributed to I’m A Ramblin’ Man. Also on board: Jessi Colter and John Anderson.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Sun Records founder Sam Phillips was born in Florence, AL in 1923. He signed and produced such acts as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Phillips entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Big Bill Lister was born in Kenedy, TX in 1923. A friend of Hank Williams, he recorded the first commercial version of There’s A Tear In My Beer and eventually gave Williams’ demo to Hank Williams Jr., who turned it into a duet hit.

Steel guitarist Doug Jernigan was born in Pensacola, FL in 1946. A road warrior with Faron Young, Lorrie Morgan and David Houston, he plays on Johnny Paycheck’s mid-’70s hit Song And Dance Man.

Drummer and vocalist Larry Michael Lee was born in Springfield, MO in 1947. After a career with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, he went on to produce country hits for Alabama, Restless Heart and The Remingtons.

Iris DeMent was born in Paragould, AR in 1961. Combining folk and traditional country elements, she covered Big City on the Merle Haggard tribute album Tulare Dust. Her name inspires the title of The Goo Goo Dolls’ Grammy-nominated rock song Iris.

Singer/songwriter Mark Nesler was born in Beaumont, TX in 1961. He wrote Tim McGraw’s Just To See You Smile, George Strait’s Living And Living Well, Josh Turner’s Time Is Love and Keith Urban’s You Look Good In My Shirt, among others.