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March 17

Mar 17, 1917

Lily Mae Ledford is born in Pilot, Kentucky. She becomes the leader of The Coon Creek Girls, the first all-female stringband, and the first country act to perform at the White House. She also gives birth to Exile’s J.P. Pennington

Mar 17, 1919

Pop singer Nat “King” Cole is born in Montgomery, Alabama. He charts more than 100 records during his career, including the original version of “Mona Lisa,” which becomes a country hit for Moon Mullican, Jimmy Wakely and Willie Nelson

Mar 17, 1932

Dick Curless is born in Fort Fairfield, Maine. Nicknamed the Baron of Country Music, he drives into the Top 10 in 1965 with his trucker classic “A Tombstone Every Mile”

Mar 17, 1955

Paul Overstreet is born in Antioch, Mississippi. The singer/songwriter is a member of Schuyler, Knobloch & Overstreet before going solo. He also writes numerous hits for others, including “On The Other Hand” and “Forever And Ever, Amen”

Mar 17, 1956

Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” reaches #1 on the Billboard country singles chart

Mar 17, 1964

Sun Records owner Sam Phillips fires Nashville studio manager Scotty Moore–Elvis Presley’s former guitarist–after Moore records an instrumental album, “The Guitar That Changed The World”

Mar 17, 1972

An outdoors festival in Dripping Springs, Texas, is one of the first to draw hippies and traditional country fans. In the lineup: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Roy Acuff, Buck Owens, Kris Kristofferson, Tex Ritter and Tom T. Hall

Mar 17, 1973

Merle Haggard plays the White House to honor First Lady Pat Nixon’s birthday, singing “Okie From Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side Of Me.” The show, featuring The Osborne Brothers, is booked by Bob Eubanks, host of “The Newlywed Game”

Mar 17, 1983

Randy Travis auditions for the TNN talent contest, “You Can Be A Star.” The producers pass

Mar 17, 1990

Aaron Tippin co-writes “Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong With The Radio”

Mar 17, 1990

Randy Travis begins a four-week stay at #1 on the Billboard country chart with “Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart”

Mar 17, 1998

Curb releases Jo Dee Messina’s sophomore album, “I’m Alright”

Mar 17, 2003

Bill Carlisle dies at home in Nashville of complications from a stroke. A Grand Ole Opry member for nearly 40 years, he was acclaimed for his blend of energetic music and slapstick comedy, which earned him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame

Mar 17, 2011

Ferlin Husky dies of congestive heart failure at his daughter’s home in Westmoreland, Tennessee. A 2010 inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame, he was best known for the Nashville Sound-catalyst “Gone” and the gospel song “Wings Of A Dove”

Mar 17, 2015

Loretta Lynn and B.B. King are honored with Governor’s Arts Awards at the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion in Nashville