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May 11

May 11, 1888
Pop songwriter Irving Berlin is born in Temun, Russia. He earns country hits when Willie Nelson records his song “Blue Skies” and Ernest Tubb covers “White Christmas.” Among Berlin’s Broadway successes is “Annie, Get Your Gun”
May 11, 1950
Carl Smith has his first recording session at the Castle Studio in Nashville’s Tulane Hotel, cutting his debut single, “Guilty Conscience”
May 11, 1955
Alabama drummer Mark Herndon is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He joins the Hall of Fame band in 1979, just prior to its launch into country’s mainstream. Herndon is a live fixture with the group, though he rarely plays on its recordings
May 11, 1957
Songwriter Harlan Howard marries Lula Grace Smith, who later comes to fame as Grand Ole Opry star Jan Howard, in Las Vegas. Among the witnesses: Wynn Stewart
May 11, 1957
The Everly Brothers make their Grand Ole Opry debut, performing “Bye Bye Love”
May 11, 1963
Tim Raybon is born in Jacksonville, Florida. He joins sibling Marty to form The Raybon Brothers, who earn a gold single with their remake of the pop song “Butterfly Kisses”


May 11, 1964
Hank Williams Jr. begins three days of recording with MGM labelmate Connie Francis at Nashville’s Columbia Recording Studio. The first song they tackle: “Wolverton Mountain,” written by Bocephus’ future manager, Merle Kilgore
May 11, 1965
Bill Anderson and Jan Howard record their first duet, “I Know You’re Married”
May 11, 1965
Johnny Cash is arrested for trespassing in Starkville, Mississippi, when he walks on private property to pick some flowers. During his night in jail, he violently kicks the walls of his cell, breaking his big toe
May 11, 1966
“The Las Vegas Hillbillys” debuts in Fresno. The movie features Ferlin Husky, Don Bowman, Wilma Burgess, Del Reeves, Connie Smith, Roy Drusky, Sonny James, the Duke of Paducah and Bill Anderson, performing “Bright Lights And Country Music”
May 11, 1976
Five weeks after he first attempted it, Mickey Gilley records Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me” in an afternoon at RCA Studio B in Nashville
May 11, 1977
Mel Tillis records “I Got The Hoss” at the Glaser Studios in Nashville

May 11, 1979
Lester Flatt dies in Nashville. The guitarist teamed with banjo player Earl Scruggs in Bill Monroe’s band, before the two went on to form their own influential bluegrass act. Flatt & Scruggs are inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985
May 11, 1985
Reba McEntire arrives at #1 in Billboard with “Somebody Should Leave”
May 11, 1987
The Oak Ridge Boys announce the addition of Steve Sanders the same day that former Oak William Lee Golden files a $40-million lawsuit against the group
May 11, 1991
George Strait’s “If I Know Me” stops at #1 on the Billboard country chart

May 11, 1993
Warner Bros. releases Little Texas’ “Big Time” album
May 11, 1993
MCA releases Wynonna Judd’s “Tell Me Why” album
May 11, 1993
Brooks & Dunn claim three honors during the NBC telecast of the 28th annual Academy Of Country Music awards from Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheatre: Top Vocal Duet; Single Record of the Year, for “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”; and Album of the Year, for “Brand New Man”
May 11, 2005
Ronnie Milsap and Los Lonely Boys combine talents in Franklin, Tennessee, during a taping of “CMT Crossroads.” The set list includes “Stranger In My House,” “It Was Almost Like A Song,” “All Is Fair In Love And War” and “Smoky Mountain Rain”