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Country Music History – June 5



1931: Jimmie Rodgers visited songwriter Ray Hall at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, TX, to work out copyright issues on “Moonlight And Skies.” Hall maintained he is owed a royalty, instead of the flat fee Rodgers had offered him.

1943: The Grand Ole Opry began airing from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, which became the radio show’s home until 1974.

1945: Don Reid was born in Staunton, VA. In 1961, he joined a gospel harmony group that became The Statler Brothers. The group would net more than 30 hits from 1965-1989 on its way into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

1948: Gail Davies was born in Broken Bow, OK. For religious reasons, she never actually celebrated her birthday. She is credited as the first woman to arrange and produce her own hit recordings in country music.

1952: Porter Wagoner signed a recording deal with RCA Records, though the label only committed to record four songs.

1954: Calling it a money-saving move, several companies made the seven-inch single an industry standard.

1972: Johnny Cash recorded “Oney” in Hendersonville at the House Of Cash.

1978: “Loretta Lynn vs. Crystal Gayle“: Country music’s sister act commanded the cover of People magazine.

1980: The John Travolta movie “Urban Cowboy” premiereed. It includes music by Kenny Rogers, Johnny Lee, Mickey Gilley, Anne Murray, The Eagles, The Charlie Daniels Band, Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and J.D. Souther.

1989: Epic announced it will change the title of George Jones’ “Ya Ba Da Ba Do (So Are You)” to “The King Is Gone (And So Are You),” to avoid a lawsuit from Hanna-Barbera Productions, which owns the rights to “The Flintstones.”

1993: Conway Twitty died from a stomach aneurysm in a Springfield, MO, hospital. The former pop/rock singer was a steady country hitmaker from 1968-1991, eventually earning a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was only 59 years old.

1993: Toby Keith went to #1 on the Billboard country singles chart for the first time with “Should’ve Been A Cowboy.”

1997: Barbara Mandrell began her role as Alexandra Mitchum on the NBC soap opera “Sunset Beach,” appearing for five weeks, before the character left the show for Norway to undergo experimental cancer treatments.

2000: Martina McBride was working overtime during her visit to the Washington, D.C. area. After turning in a stellar performance during the George Strait Country Music Festival’s stop in Landover, Maryland, Martina performed another show at the much more intimate setting of the Birchmere, a music hall located in Alexandria, Virginia. Country stars rarely perform two concerts at different places during the same day, but Martina made an exception after hearing the tragic story of a local murder. In April 2000, 8-year-old Kevin Shifflett was stabbed to death as he played outside his grandparents’ home in Alexandria. Martina’s concert raised $100,000 for a reward fund to find the young boy’s killer. Raising $100,000 for one show at the Birchmere was an impressive feat since 500 fans gladly paid $200 per ticket to see Martina’s concert.

2003: Days before the opening of the movie “Hollywood Homicide,” Dwight Yoakam received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2007: Anti- releases Porter Wagoner’s “Wagonmaster” album, produced by Marty Stuart. It proves to be the final album of Wagoner’s career.

2013: The U.S. Postal Service issued a Johnny Cash stamp.

2013: Songwriter and comedian Don Bowman died at a nursing home in Forsyth, MO. He wrote the Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson duet “Just To Satisfy You” and Jim Stafford’s pop hit “Wildwood Weed.”

2017: The estate of Bill Monroe announced it was willing to sell rights to his name and likeness, plus tons of memorabilia, including 1,800 personal checks, some of them written to Ralph Stanley, Johnny Paycheck, and Earl Scruggs.