Ray Price records “San Antonio Rose,” in 1961 – the first tribute album to honor Bob Wills. The band includes Willie Nelson.
In 1961 Leroy Van Dyke’s “Walk On By” spends the first of a record breaking 19 weeks at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart. The crossover hit was named by Billboard Magazine as the biggest country music record in history.
Loretta Lynn joins the Grand Ole Opry in 1962. She made her debut on two years earlier. A decade later in 1972, Lynn would become the first female artist to win the Country Music Association’s coveted Entertainer of the Year award.
Willie Nelson records “Remember Me (When The Candlelights Are Gleaming)” on this date in 1974. Here’s a live version of the fresh faced Nelson singing his hit song on Austin City Limits in 1976.
The Association of Country Entertainers closes its offices in 1981 due to lack of funding. ACE had been established in 1974 when numerous Nashville performers were unhappy over the infiltration of pop stars into country music.
The Postal Service issues a series of stamps in 1993 honoring four important country music acts: Hank Williams, The Carter Family, Patsy Cline and Bob Wills.
Cas Walker dies in his sleep in 1998. As the host of a Knoxville television show, he provided the first television exposure for numerous country artists, including Dolly Parton.
Fourteen years after Cash Box chart manager Kevin Hughes was killed on Music Row in Nashville in 2003, a former fellow employee, Richard D’Antonio, is convicted of the murder. Hughes had declined to participate in a chart kickback scandal and threatened to take it public.
We lost Grand Ole Opry star Jean Shepard in 2016. She was a 2011 inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and used her honky-tonk sound to become a pioneer among female country acts. She was best known for the singles “Slippin’ Away,” “Second Fiddle (To An Old Guitar)” and a Ferlin Husky duet, “A Dear John Letter.” She was a strong advocate for traditional country music. You can hear her thoughts on the subject here:
David “Dad” Carter is born in Milltown, KY in 1889. He founds The Chuck Wagon Gang, an influential Southern gospel act. Its “After The Sunrise” ranks among country’s 500 greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation’s “Heartaches By The Number”
Ian Tyson is born in British Columbia, Canada in 1933. The folk singer and rodeo cowboy writes Bobby Bare’s “Four Strong Winds” and “Someday Soon,” a Judy Collins pop recording that becomes a minor country hit for Moe Bandy in 1982 and for Suzy Bogguss in 1991.
Royce Kendall is born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1934. His duo with daughter Jeannie, The Kendalls, uses gospel harmony to create a series of suggestive singles, including “Heaven’s Just A Sin Away,” “Pittsburgh Stealers” and “Teach Me To Cheat”