This day in Country Music History

  • Today in 1957, Brenda Lee made her debut on the country chart with “One Step at a Time.” She was 12-years-old at the time, just a year younger than LeAnn Rimes was when she debuted with her single, “Blue,” in 1996.
  • Today in 1982, the album, “Bobbie Sue,” by the Oak Ridge Boys was certified gold.
  • Today in 1987, the “Half Nelson” album by Willie Nelson was certified gold.
  • Today in 1987, Hank Williams Jr. was named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music while Randy Travis won the Album of Year award for “Storms of My Life.”
  • Today in 1987, singing cowboy Gene Autry becomes the first person honored with five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Today in 1990, Alan Jackson’s single, “Here in the Real World,” topped the “Radio & Records’” country chart. Aside from the obvious notable achievement, this also marked his first chart hit.
  • Today in 1992, Diamond Rio’s single “Walkin Away” hit #2 on the charts.
  • Today in 1994, Restless Heart’s “Big Iron Horses” album was certified gold.
  • Today in 1996, Garth Brooks was honored by the NAACP for promoting civil rights with his song, “We Shall Be Free.”
  • Today in 1998, Tammy Wynette died in Nashville at the age of 55. While her cause of death was originally listed as a blood clot to the lungs, her daughters weren’t so sure. In fact, they took their suspicions to court and sued Tammy’s physician, Wallis Marsh, for mismanaging their mother’s case. Included in the suit was pharmacy Care Solutions of Nashville for delivering the painkiller and Tammy’s last husband, George Richey, for helping to administer her medications. In April 2002, the legal challenge was resolved in a secret, out-of-court settlement.
  • Today in 1998, led by Tim McGraw, a group of country artists, filed suit against Los Angeles resident Jim Salmon who registered the names of the plaintiffs as website domain names. Those joining Tim in the suit included Deana Carter, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Mindy McCready, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Pam Tillis and Trisha Yearwood.
  • Today in 1999, Montgomery Gentry’s album “Tattoos & Scars” was released. The album was released two months early due to overwhelming demand and has since been certified gold.
  • Today in 1999, Johnny Cash made an unannounced appearance at his tribute concert in New York City. He performed his classic hit “Folsom Prison Blues.” Other artists at the tribute included Mary Chapin Carpenter, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Sheryl Crow.
  • Today in 2000, Brooks & Dunn kicked off their tour to support the “Tight Rope” album in Madison, Wisconsin. The show featured Lonestar, Montgomery Gentry, Mark Wills, Andy Griggs and Yankee Grey as rotating opening acts.
  • Today in 2000, Brad Paisley was presented with a gold album for his debut release, “Who Needs Pictures,” in Nashville. The project was certified for sales of 500,000 weeks earlier.
  • Today in 2001, the “Girls’ Night Out” summer tour, which featured Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Jamie O’ Neal and Carolyn Dawn Johnson was officially announced.
  • Today in 2002, following their performance at the Grand Ole Opry, Trick Pony were surprised onstage with a gold album by Brooks & Dunn.
  • Today in 2002, Brad Paisley was in Wheeling, West Virginia for his first-ever homecoming benefit event at the Wheeling Civic Center. The sell-out event, which was officially titled, “Brad Paisley and Jamboree USA present ‘An Evening Back Home,'” was a fundraiser for the Brad Paisley Foundation. Proceeds from the concert went to local charities in the Upper Ohio Valley Area (where he was born and raised).
  • Today in 2007, Luke Bryan made his Grand Ole Opry debut with a performance of “All My Friends Say.”
  • Today in 2009, George Strait was honored as the Academy of Country Music’s Artist of the Decade during a taping for a CBS-TV special at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Strait closes the night with the rest of the cast backing him on “Troubadour.”
  • Today in 2013, George Jones performed at the Knoxville Coliseum in Tennessee in what turns out to be the last concert of his life. It marked his final public performance of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
  • Today in 2014, Miranda Lambert took home three trophies during the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year; Single Record, for “Mama’s Broken Heart”; and Vocal Event, for the Keith Urban duet, “We Were Us.”
  • Today in 2016, Merle Haggard died of pneumonia at his home on his 79th
  • Today in 2017, the late Merle Haggard was honored with an all-star concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, featuring Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Loretta Lynn and Jamey Johnson.


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