This day in Country Music History

  • Today in 1974, Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” went to #1 on the Billboard country chart.
  • Today in 1981, George Strait records his first hit, “Unwound,” at Music City Music Hall in Nashville.
  • Today in 1985, Charlie Daniels hosted Volunteer Jam XI at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, joined by Kris Kristofferson, Tom Wopat, Little Richard, Nicolette Larson, Alabama, Ted Nugent, Bill Medley, Lacy J. Dalton, Gail Davies, Eddy Raven, Emmylou Harris and Amy Grant, among others.
  • Today in 1993, Willie Nelson and the IRS settled their long-standing tax feud. The U.S. government kept $3.6-million in assets it had already seized, and Willie had to pay $5.4-million of the $13.1 million balance.
  • Today in 1996, Shania Twain hit #1 with “(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here.”
  • Today in 1996, the mayor of Tampa, Florida proclaimed that it was “Henry Paul Day,” in honor of BlackHawk’s lead singer, Henry Paul. Mayor Dick A. Greco said Paul should be honored for “lifelong achievements in one of our nation’s classic treasures: country music.”
  • Today in 2003, Keith Urban announced that a throat ailment affecting his vocal chords would force the cancellation of his professional obligations for 6 weeks.
  • Today in 2008, Brad Paisley’s “Letter To Me” occupied the #1 position on the Billboard country chart, where it remained the rest of the month.
  • Today in 2010, Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow shot concert footage for the movie “Country Strong” at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. The Lost Trailers performed for extras during the day.
  • Today in 2013, it was the eve of the Super Bowl, and Rascal Flatts team up with Journey for a live installment of “CMT Crossroads” from the Sugar Mill in New Orleans. The hour included “Life Is A Highway,” “Fast Cars And Freedom” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
  • Today in 2015, Jennifer Nettles took over the role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway production of “Chicago” at the Ambassador Theatre in New York.
  • Today in 2015, Cam’s debut single, “My Mistake,” hit the airwaves.
  • Today in 2016, Merle Haggard attempted to go back to work 11 weeks after contracting double pneumonia. He shows up at the venue in Riverside, California, but is unable to perform and cancelled his six remaining February concerts. He ultimately passed away in April of that same year.
  • Today in 2017, Maren Morris launched her first headlining tour at the Bowery Ballroom in New York.
  • Today in 2018, Eddie Montgomery made his solo debut on the Grand Ole Opry, five months after the death of his longtime Montgomery Gentry singing partner Troy Gentry.
  • Today in 2018, Luke Combs performed “Hurricane” and “When It Rains It Pours” as he headlines Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium for the first time.
  • Today in 2019, Cody Johnson’s “Ain’t Nothin’ To It” debuted at #1 on the Billboard country albums chart.
  • Today in 2020, Billy Ray Cyrus made a cameo as “Old Town Road” was featured in a Doritos ad making its TV debut during the FOX telecast of the Super Bowl. Lil Nas X has a dance-off in the clip with actor Sam Elliot.
  • Today in 2021, Dolly Parton revealed on NBC’s “Today” that she twice turned down Donald Trump’s offer to present her the Presidential Medal of Freedom–her husband was sick the first year, and she declined to travel during the pandemic the second year.
  • Today in 2021, the infamous video of Morgan Wallen using a racial slur outside of his Nashville home surfaced on TMZ. Over the next 24 hours, the country music business delivered various forms of punishment – essentially imploding his career. Among other things, he was suspended from his record label and his music was dropped from several major radio networks. He largely kept quiet – outside of the initial apology – until the following July. That’s when he publicly spoke of his comments on “GMA” and apologized again. Wallen’s songs returned to country radio in August 2021 with the release of his single “Sand in My Boots.”


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