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May 8

May 8, 1928
Fiddler Benny Martin is born in Sparta, Tennessee. Beginning professionally as a teenager, he becomes a sideman for Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Kitty Wells and Roy Acuff, among others
May 8, 1940
Ricky Nelson is born in Teaneck, New Jersey. Carried into the limelight through his role on TV’s “The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet,” he gains success in pop music, but also launches four Top 10 country hits in 1958
May 8, 1942
Jack Blanchard is born in Buffalo, New York. He marries Misty Morgan, with whom he gains a novelty hit with “Tennessee Bird Walk” in 1970
May 8, 1961
Faron Young’s version of the Willie Nelson-penned “Hello Walls” hits #1 in Billboard


May 8, 1969
Elvis Presley tells Colonel Tom Parker he’s no longer interested in doing movies, because the roles are so bad
May 8, 1976
George Jones gives a Thunderbird and a gold ring to his ex-wife, Tammy Wynette, in honor of Mother’s Day
May 8, 1976
The Man in Black donned a black robe: Johnny Cash receives an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from San Diego’s National University. San Diego mayor Pete Wilson declares Johnny Cash Day.
May 8, 1980
“Johnny Cash: The First 25 Years” airs on CBS with George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Roy Acuff, June Carter, The Carter Family, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Anne Murray, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tom T. Hall, Larry Gatlin, Johnny Paycheck and others
May 8, 1981
Barbara and Louise Mandrell join the 10th “Battle Of The Network Stars,” with Tom Selleck, Charlene Tilton, Melissa Gilbert and Scott Baio, among others

May 8, 1981
Epic releases Ricky Skaggs’ album “Waitin’ For The Sun To Shine”
May 8, 1981
Epic releases the “Hard Country” soundtrack, featuring Tanya Tucker’s “Texas (When I Die)” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ remake of “I Love You So Much, It Hurts,” plus music by Joe Ely and screenplay writer Michael Martin Murphey
May 8, 1982
Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” reaches #1 on the Billboard country chart
May 8, 1990
Lorrie Morgan adds her vocals to a previously-recorded Keith Whitley track, “‘Til A Tear Becomes A Rose,” a day before the one-year anniversary of his death
May 8, 2008
Eddy Arnold dies at NHC Place in Franklin, Tennessee. Originally nicknamed the Tennessee Plowboy, he became a leading proponent of the string-laden “Nashville Sound” of the 1960s. Arnold joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966