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March 15

Mar 15, 1927

Carl Smith is born in Maynardville, Tennessee. He piles up more than 30 hits during the 1950s, including “Loose Talk,” “Hey Joe!” and “It’s A Lovely, Lovely World,” eventually landing in the Country Music Hall of Fame

Mar 15, 1931

Drummer D.J. Fontana is born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He joins Elvis Presley’s combo in the 1950s, playing on such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “All Shook Up”

Mar 15, 1935

Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart is born in Louisiana. He runs with cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley as a youngster, before heading into the ministry

Mar 15, 1947

MGM Records opens for business in New York. The label goes on to represent such country acts as Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Marie Osmond, Mel Tillis, C.W. McCall and Hank Williams Jr.

Mar 15, 1951

Ray Price holds his first recording session for Columbia Records at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, Texas, leading with what becomes his debut single, the Lefty Frizzell-penned “If You’re Ever Lonely Darling”

Mar 15, 1966

Roger Miller wins six times at the eighth annual Grammy Awards. “King Of The Road” takes Best Contemporary Male, Contemporary Single, Country & Western Male, C&W Single and C&W Song, and “The Return Of Roger Miller” snags C&W Album

Mar 15, 1968

The Byrds, including Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, play the Grand Ole Opry with steel guitarist Lloyd Green. Some fans hoot and call for them to get haircuts. Their set list includes Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home” and their own “Hickory Wind”

Mar 15, 1974

The Grand Ole Opry is staged at the Ryman Auditorium for the last time before moving to the Grand Ole Opry House. Charlie Walker and Bill Anderson forget the words to songs as they bid adieu to the venue

Mar 15, 1975

Freddy Fender makes his first appearance at #1 on the Billboard chart with “Before The Next Teardrop Falls”

Mar 15, 1989

Capitol releases Suzy Bogguss’ debut album, “Somewhere Between”

Mar 15, 1994

Arista releases Pam Tillis’ “Spilled Perfume”

Mar 15, 1996

Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe makes what becomes his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry

Mar 15, 1998

Mark Chesnutt records the classic “Stay All Night” with Asleep At The Wheel at the Bismeaux Studio in Austin, Texas. It’s the first song recorded for the Bob Wills tribute “Ride With Bob,” which earns a Grammy nomination for best country album in 2000

Mar 15, 1999

Bob Wills joins the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Paul McCartney, who end up playing together in a jam session. Also added: Del Shannon, The Staple Singers, Dusty Springfield and record producer George Martin

Mar 15, 2002

Guitarist, banjo player and mandolinist Paul Buskirk dies in Nacogdoches, Texas. He was a friend and mentor to Willie Nelson, who took guitar lessons from Buskirk and sold him the rights to “Family Bible” for a mere $50. Buskirk played on Nelson’s version of “Mona Lisa”

Mar 15, 2003

Brad Paisley marries “According To Jim” star Kimberly Williams in Malibu, California

Mar 15, 2014

The Grand Ole Opry House observes the 40th anniversary of its opening with an Opry show that features Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Josh Turner, Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Clint Black and Diamond Rio