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October 21

Presented by Watson's Marine

In 1963, Lefty Frizzell recorded “Saginaw, Michigan” at Nashville’s Columbia Recording Studios after actor George Hamilton left the control room. Hamilton had come to watch the session, but his presence intimidated Lefty.

Former Elvis Presley bass player Bill Black died in 1965 during an operation for a brain tumor at age 39. He played on Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog” and “Heartbreak Hotel,” eventually forming his own combo.

The Browns made their final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry as a trio in 1967. Maxine and Bonnie Brown decided to retire, leaving Jim Ed Brown to a solo career

Dolly Parton records “Joshua” in an afternoon at RCA Studio B in Nashville in 1970.

Mel Street recorded “Borrowed Angel” on his 37th birthday in 1970.

A few short years later, Mel Street committed suicide on his 45th birthday at home in Hendersonville, TN in 1978. Country singers Ricky Van Shelton and Marty Raybon (Shenandoah) both name Mel Street as one of their vocal influences.

In 1984 Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale engage in a presidential debate in Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium. At the same time, the facility’s music hall features a concert with Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Ronnie Milsap and Merle Haggard

Garth Brooks, Connie Smith and session keyboard player Hargus “Pig” Robbins officially join the Country Music Hall of Fame during a medallion ceremony in Nashville in 2012.

In 2018, Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West and fiddler Johnny Gimble are inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


One of the most influential figures in country music was born on October 21. Record producer Owen Bradley was born in Westmoreland, TN in 1915. He established the first recording studio on what becomes Music Row. As the head of Decca he produces for Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, among others. Owen Bradley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974.

Fiddler Tommy Magness was born in Mineral Bluff, GA in 1916. He supports Little Jimmy Dickens in the singer’s first recording session, playing on “Take An Old Cold ‘Tater (And Wait).” During his tenure with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, Magness also plays on “Mule Skinner Blues.” Hear him shine on this one:

Guitarist Roy Nichols is born in Chandler, AZ in 1932. He performed with Merle Haggard’s Strangers from 1965-1987 and writes Haggard’s “Street Singer”

Mel Street was born in Grundy, VA in 1933. He nets a steady stream of major and minor hits on independent labels from 1972-1978.