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November 12

Johnny Cash recorded Big River and Ballad Of A Teenage Queen at Memphis’ Sun Recording Studio in 1957. 

A few years later in 1963, The Man in Black recorded Understand Your Man at the Columbia Recording Studios on Music Row in Nashville.

Willie Nelson held his inaugural recording session in a new deal with RCA in 1964. Chet Atkins produced the session at RCA Studio B in Nashville. The first song tackled?  Nelson’s Christmas title, Pretty Paper.

Construction started on the new Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville in 1971. Among the roofers who eventually work on the project: future country singer John Anderson.

The Association of Country Entertainers, ACE, was created in 1974 when a group of country artists complained that some of the Country Music Association awards winners shouldn’t be considered “country.” Most often cited: Olivia Newton-John.

In 1992 Billy Ray Cyrus became the first country artist to ship 5 million copies of his debut album, with the latest certification of Some Gave All.

Barbara Mandrell made a guest appearance on ABC-TV’s “The Commish” in 1994. She played an evil psychiatrist named Gloria Cutler, who tried to eliminate the commissioner.

George Strait received the National Medal of Arts in 2003 from president George W. Bush and the National Endowment for the Arts in a ceremony at the White House. “Austin City Limits” also became the first television program to win the honor.

Producer Jack Clement and Billy Burnette were inducted into the Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson, TN in 2011.


Songwriter Mort Shuman was born in New York City in 1936. He wrote several Elvis Presley hits and Save The Last Dance For Me, which became a country hit three different times–for Buck Owens, for Emmylou Harris and for Dolly Parton.

Rock artist Neil Young was born at Toronto General Hospital in Ontario in 1945. A solo performer and member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, he entered the country music world as a songwriter. Young penned Linda Ronstadt’s Love Is A Rose and Waylon Jennings’ Are You Ready For The Country.

Barbara Fairchild was born in Lafe, AR in 1950. After making her first record at age 15, her 1972 release Teddy Bear Song started a three-single run of innocent hits

Songwriter Walt Aldridge was born in Florence, AL in 1955. Among his songs: Heartland’s I Loved Her First, Earl Thomas Conley’s Holding Her And Loving You, Ricky Van Shelton’s I Am A Simple Man and Ronnie Milsap’s (There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me.

Songwriter Michael Garvin was born in 1957. He authored Conway Twitty’s Desperado Love, T.G. Sheppard’s Only One You, Michael Martin Murphey’s From The Word Go and Tanya Tucker’s Highway Robbery, among others.