This day in Country Music History

  • Today in 1970, Merle Haggard’s “The Fightin’ Side Of Me” reached #1 on the Billboard country chart.
  • Today in 1972, California Governor Ronald Reagan pardoned Merle Haggard for a 1975 attempted robbery that landed the singer in prison.
  • Today in 1972, “Help Me Make It Through The Night”won twice during the 14th annual GRAMMY awards for Best Country Song for Kris Kristofferson and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, for Sammi Smith.
  • Today in 1992, Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid V draws about 40,000 fans in Irving, Texas with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Walsh, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ricky Van Shelton, The Kentucky HeadHunters, Lorrie Morgan, Hal Ketchum and Paul Simon.
  • Today in 1998, during her Grand Ole Opry debut, Jo Dee Messina sung “Lesson In Leaving” the same evening that Opry manager Bob Whittaker asked Diamond Rio to join the cast.
  • Today in 2004, Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley, performed for president George W. Bush when ABC tapes “An American Celebration At Ford’s Theatre.” The show was hosted by Kelsey Grammer and featured Patti LaBelle, Jessica Simpson, David Spade and many others.
  • Today in 2011, Luke Bryan’s “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” was released.
  • Today in 2014, Toby Keith launched his first Australian concert tour at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. The show featured The Eli Young Band and Kellie Pickler as the opening acts.
  • Today in 2017, the Brothers Osborne were named New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year by the Academy of Country Music, 19 days before the 52nd annual ceremony. Jon Pardi was named New Male and Maren Morris was crowned New Female Vocalist.
  • Today in 2017, Willie Nelson was a surprise guest at Ray Benson’s birthday bash in Austin. Teaming up with Ray on “Pancho And Lefty,” the benefit also included Sunny Sweeney, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers and The Avett Brothers, who covered “Mama Tried.”


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