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March 16

Mar 16, 1917

Woodwind player Darol Rice is born. He contributes bass clarinet to Tennessee Ernie Ford’s 1955 classic “Sixteen Tons”

Mar 16, 1942

Jerry Jeff Walker is born in Oneonta, New York. He writes The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Mr. Bojangles” and becomes a major force on Austin’s progressive country scene

Mar 16, 1951

Ray Benson is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He forms Asleep At The Wheel, which emerges as the strongest modern advocate for western swing. The group wins multiple Grammys but earns just one hit, “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read”

Mar 16, 1951

Hank Williams records “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You),” “Howlin’ At The Moon” and “My Heart Would Know” in an afternoon session at Nashville’s Castle Recording Studio

Mar 16, 1954

Faron Young records “If You Ain’t Lovin’ (You Ain’t Livin’)” at the Castle Studio in downtown Nashville. He also makes his first attempts at cutting “I’ve Got Five Dollars And It’s Saturday Night”

Mar 16, 1954

Tim O’Brien is born in Wheeling, West Virginia. A member of the bluegrass act Hot Rize, he writes Kathy Mattea’s 1986 hit “Walk The Way The Wind Blows” and joins her on her 1990 duet “The Battle Hymn Of Love”

Mar 16, 1965

Waylon Jennings makes his first recordings in a new deal with RCA, working with Chet Atkins at a Nashville session

Mar 16, 1970

Ray Price records the Kris Kristofferson-penned “For The Good Times”

Mar 16, 1972

Thirteen-year-old Tanya Tucker records “Delta Dawn,” her first single, at Nashville’s Columbia Recording Studios

Mar 16, 1974

The Grand Ole Opry gives its first performance at the new Grand Ole Opry House. President Richard Nixon appears at the event. Roy Acuff, who gives Nixon a yo-yo demonstration, is the first performer, doing “Wabash Cannonball.” The rest of the Opry cast appears alphabetically, beginning with Bill Anderson

Mar 16, 1979

Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers Band record “All The Gold In California” in a morning session at Nashville’s Young ‘Un Sound

Mar 16, 1991

A plane crash outside of San Diego kills eight members of Reba McEntire’s band and crew, including singer/songwriter Chris Austin, whose “Same Ol’ Love” becomes a hit for Ricky Skaggs. Read more here.

Mar 16, 1995

No problem at all: “Thinkin’ Problem” brings David Ball his first platinum album

Mar 16, 1996

Garth Brooks gains a #1 single in Billboard with “The Beaches Of Cheyenne”

Mar 16, 2011

Bluegrass promoter Carlton Haney dies of complications from a stroke at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina. He co-wrote Conway Twitty’s “To See My Angel Cry”

Mar 16, 2015

Songwriter Don Robertson dies in Lake Sherwood, California. His legacy includes Charley Pride’s “Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger,” Eddy Arnold’s “I Really Don’t Want To Know” and Hank Locklin’s “Please Help Me, I’m Falling”

Mar 16, 2016

Reba McEntire sings “Me And Bobby McGee” during a tribute concert, The Life & Songs Of Kris Kristofferson, at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Also aboard are Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker and Jamey Johnson, who covers “For The Good Times” with Alison Krauss