March 7th in Country Music History
1944: Townes Van Zandt, singer/song-writer, is born on this day in Fort Worth, Texas.
1973: “Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel becomes one of the few 1970s instrumentals to be awarded a Gold record.
1980: The film Coal Miner’s Daughter, a biography of Loretta Lynn starring Sissy Spacek, opens to the public.
1983: The Nashville Network (TNN) is launched from the now-defunct Opryland USA theme park near Nashville, Tennessee.
2000: Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski, better known as Pee Wee King, dies of a heart attack in Louisville, Kentucky at the age of 86.
2013: Claude King dies of natural causes at the age of 90.
March 5th in Country Music History
1963: Music icons Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copus and Hawkshaw Hawkins are tragically killed near Camden, Tennessee when their plane flies into severe weather. 90 miles from their destination, the trio were headed for Nashville in a Piper Comanche piloted by Copas’ son-in-law (and Cline’s manager), Randy Hughes.
1980: The film Coal Miner’s Daughter debutes in Nashville, soon becaming the #1 box office hit in America. The film starred Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn and Tommy Lee Jones as her husband Mooney Lynn.
1983: CMT is launched at 6:19 PM CST
2009: T-Swift makes her primetime television TV acting debut in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as Haley Jones. Unfortunately, the singer was stabbed in the heart with a pair of scissors.
2013: Connie Sanders King is charged with both felony and premeditated first-degree murder in the death of country music manager Thomas Colucci at their Coffee County, Tennessee, home.
1946: The Bellamy Brothers singer/songwriter Howard Bellamy is born in Darby, Florida.
1960: Loretta Lynn signs her first contract with Zero Records.
1974: “Jolene” scores Dolly Parton her second #1 country hit single. Parton says that the inspiration for the story was a tall, red-headed bank teller whom Parton believed was flirting with her husband, and her husband’s apparent vulnerability to the teller’s charm.
1986: Country music artist Blaine Larsen is born in Tacoma, Washington.
1992: “A Jukebox with a Country Song” by Doug Stone sits at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart. This was Stone’s second chart-topper.
1993: Willie Nelson (pictured) agrees to pay $9 million of the $16.7 million he owes the IRS.
2007: Country musician Terry McMillan, who played harmonica and percussion, dies at the age of 53. He worked with powerhouse artists such as Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Kenny Chesney, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Trisha Yearwood, and the Dixie Chicks.
Loretta Lynn’s younger brother, Herman Webb, has given an update on how the country icon is recovering following the stroke she had in May. Webb tells Closer Weekly that Loretta can talk now, and told him that she thinks she’s going to be okay. Herman says, “Her left side was kind of paralyzed, but [she can get around by] herself now, she just has to use a walker. She’s doing really good — that’s the main thing!” Webb adds that Lynn is determined to sing again and making music has been very good therapy for her.
- This update comes after Loretta recently canceled the majority of her July tour dates to recover from the stroke. Loretta’s website still shows an appearance at her ranch in Hurricane Mill, Tennessee, on July 1, with a two-night stand at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in August listed as her next event after that.
Country legend Loretta Lynn was admitted to a Nashville hospital on Thursday night (5/4) after she suffered a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. A message posted on Lynn’s website Friday (5/5) said she is “currently under medical care and is responsive and expected to make a full recovery.” Doctors have advised Lynn to stay off the road while she is recuperating, and her upcoming tour dates will be postponed.
Loretta Lynn has announced the release of her new studio album, Wouldn’t It Be Great, out August 18. The new album will be made up entirely of songs penned by Loretta and will include all-new compositions as well as reinterpretations of her classics. Wouldn’t It Be Great follows the release of 2016’s Full Circle, which was Lynn’s first album in more than a decade.
Some of country’s biggest stars will assemble in Nashville this spring for a special concert honoring the life and songs of the legendary Merle Haggard. Dubbed “Sing Me Back Home: The Music Of Merle Haggard,” the all-star concert will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on April 6 in honor of what would have been Merle’s 80th birthday and the one-year anniversary of his passing. The night will include performances by artists such as Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Dierks Bentley, Hank Williams Jr., John Mellencamp, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more.
· Tickets go on sale this Friday (3/3) at 11 AM local time at ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster locations and the Bridgestone Arena box office.
· A portion of the proceeds will benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation.
· More details about the concert can be found here.
On this day in 2005, Loretta Lynn won the Grammy for “Best Country Album” for Van Lear Rose. The album title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working in the Van Lear coal mines. The album was produced by White Stripes member Jack White, who worked a musician on the whole album as well.
White also wrote, “Little Red Shoes” for the album. At the time of the album’s release, Lynn was 72 and White was 28.
The album peaked at number two on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and at number 24 on the Billboard 200, the most successful crossover music album of Lynn’s 45-year career.
During her Grand Ole Opry performance on Tuesday night (11/15), Crystal Gayle was surprised by Carrie Underwood with an invitation to become an official Opry member. Underwood surprised the sold-out crowd at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium by joining Gayle on her hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” Moments after they finished the duet, Carrie turned to Crystal and said, “You are an inspiration to so many of us. You are important to country music, and you are important to the Opry, which is why I was asked tonight to ask you if you would like to join our Opry family officially.” Gayle then accepted the invitation with a hug and said “I have always felt like I was a member of the family and this is just so special.”
· Gayle will be formally inducted into the Opry on January 21, 2017 by her sister, country legend Loretta Lynn.
· Gayle made her Opry debut nearly 50 years ago on the Ryman stage, singing the classic “Ribbon of Darkness” at the age of 16.