Monday, January 16, 2017

Dates of Note in Country Music, January 16-31

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; OTF=Old Time Fiddler; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; RR=also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


January 16:

Ronnie Milsap (CM 14) born in Robbinsville, North Carolina, 1943 (now 74)
Jim Stafford born in Eloise, Florida, 1944 (now 73)
Sandy Pinkard of Pinkard & Bowden born in Abbeville, Louisiana, 1947 (now 70)

Roy Lanham born in Corbin, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1991)
Ruby Falls born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1946 (died 1986)

Dizzy Dean born in Lucas, Arkansas, 1910 (died 1974). The legendary baseball player is credited with dubbing Roy Acuff "King of Country Music."
Carl Smith (CM 03) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2010 (was 82)
Bill Monroe seriously injured in a car wreck, 1953. Monroe was away from performing for six months while recovering.

Jimmy Buffett's private plane was shot at by Jamaican authorities, 1996.  The Jamaican police mistook Buffett's plane for one belonging to a drug kingpin.  No one on board Buffett's plane was injured.

January 17:


Steve Earle born in Fort Monroe, Virginia, 1955 (now 62)

Amanda Wilkinson of the Wilkinsons born in Belleville, Ontario, 1982 (now 35)
Walter Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1920 (died 2000)
Grady Martin born in Marshall County, Tennessee, 1929 (died 2001)
Cliffie Stone (CM 89) died in his home in Saugus, California (heart attack), 1998 (was 80)
Frank "Hylo" Brown died in Mechanicsburg, Ohio (natural causes), 2003 (was 81)
The street in front of Graceland renamed "Elvis Presley Boulevard," 1972

January 18:


Hargus "Pig" Robbins (CM 12) born in Spring City, Tennessee, 1938 (now 79)
Mark Collie born in Waynesboro, Tennessee, 1956 (now 61)

Linda Parker of the Cumberland Ridge Runners born in Covington, Kentucky, 1912 (died 1935)
Bobby Edwards born in Aniston, Alabama, 1926 (died 2012)
Eddie Hill (DJ 75) died (long-term illness), 1994 (was 74)
Glenn Frey died in New York, New York (pneumonia/complications of ulcerative colitis surgery), 2016 (was 67)

January 19:


Stu Phillips born in Montreal, Quebec, 1933 (now 84)
Dolly Parton (CM 99, NS 86; GLA 11) born in Locast Ridge, Tennessee, 1946 (now 71)
Stephanie Davis born in Bridger, Montana, 1958 (now 59)
Dennie Crouch of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Strawberry, Arkansas, 1967 (now 40)
Leo Soileau born in Ville Platte, Louisiana, 1904 (died 1980)
Ken Nelson (CM 01) born in Caledonia, Minnesota, 1911 (died 2008)

Oscar Sullivan born in Edmonton, Kentucky, 1919 (died 2012)
Charlie Waller of the Country Gentlemen (BG 96) born in Joinerville, TX, 1935 (died 2004)
Phil Everly (CM 01, NS 01; RR 86; GLA 97) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1939 (died 2014)
Ralph Peer (CM 84) died in Los Angeles, California (pneumonia), 1960 (was 67)
Vic McAlpin (NS 70) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1980 (was 61)
Carl Perkins (NS 85; RR 87) died in Jackson, Tennessee (complications of stroke/throat cancer), 1998 (was 65)

James O'Gwynn died in Hattiesburg, Mississippi (long-term illness), 2011 (was 82)
George Jones' first recording session (for Starday), 1954

January 20:

John Michael Montgomery born in Danville, Kentucky, 1965 (now 52)

Huddie "Leadbelly" Leadbetter (NS 80; RR 88) born in Mooringsport, Louisiana, 1889 (died 1949).  The year of Leadbelly's birth is open for debate, as is the actual day, with numerous sources citing January 20, January 21, or January 23, and years of 1888 or 1889.
George Burns born in New York, New York, 1896 (died 1996). The legendary comedian and actor had a top 20 country song in 1980 with "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again."
Slim Whitman born in Tampa, Florida, 1924 (died 2013)
Larry Butler died in Pensacola, Florida (natural causes), 2012 (was 69)

January 21:

Mac Davis (NS 00) born in Lubbock, Texas, 1942 (now 75)
Jim Ibbottson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1947 (now 70)

Cedric Rainwater (BG 07) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1970 (was 56)
Jim Anglin died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1987 (was 73)
Colonel Tom Parker died in Las Vegas, Nevada (stroke), 1997 (was 87). In addition to Elvis, Parker managed Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, and Minnie Pearl early in their careers.
Patsy Cline appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and won the talent show,1957

January 22:

J.P. Pennington of Exile born in Berea, Kentucky, 1949 (now 68)

Teddy Gentry (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1952 (now 65)
Dickie McBride of Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers born in New Baden, Texas, 1914 (died 1971)
Jimmy Day died in Buda, Texas (cancer), 1999 (was 65)
Janette Carter, the last surviving member of the Carter Family, died in Kingsport, Tennessee (Parkinson's disease/illness), 2006 (was 82)

January 23:

Etta May born in Bald Knob, Arkansas, 1962 (now 55)
Johnny Russell (NS 01) born in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2001)
T. Texas Tyler died in Springfield, Missouri (stomach cancer), 1972 (was 55)

Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey (NS 79; SG 13) died in Chicago, Illinois (Alzheimer's disease), 1993 (was 93)
Art Stamper died in Louisville, Kentucky (throat cancer), 2005 (was 71)
Johnny Carson died in Hollywood, California (emphysema), 2005 (was 79). Carson had a number of country artists on The Tonight Show, including over two dozen appearances by Homer and Jethro, who Carson considered among his favorite guests.

Curtis Potter died in Abilene, Texas (pneumonia), 2016 (was 75)
The Winter Dance Party began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1959. Three of the headliners, Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and Ritchie Valens, would die 11 days later.

January 24:

Doug Kershaw born in Tiel Ridge, Louisiana, 1936 (now 81)
Jack Scott born in Windsor, Ontario, 1936 (now 81)
Ray Stevens (NS 80) born in Clarksdale, Georgia, 1939 (now 78)
Becky Hobbs born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1950 (now 67)
Keech Rainwater of Lonestar born in Plano, Texas, 1963 (now 54)

Warren Zevon born in Chicago, Illinois, 1947 (died 2001).  The folk-rock singer wrote "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," which was a hit on the country charts by both Linda Ronstadt and Terri Clark.  Zevon also had Dwight Yoakam on two albums and appeared in South of Heaven, West of Hell, which Yoakam directed and starred in.
Shot Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of stroke), 1991 (was 70)
Justin Tubb died in Nashville, Tennessee (aortic aneurysm), 1998 (was 62)

January 25:

Claude Gray born in Henderson, Texas, 1932 (now 85)
Farrell "Rusty" Draper born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1923 (died 2003)
Speedy West (StG 80) born in Springfield, Missouri, 1924 (died 2003)
Cactus Jack Call died in Kansas City, Missouri (car wreck), 1963 (was 39).  A benefit concert for the disc jockey five weeks later would be the final performances by Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cowboy Copas.

Buddy Charleton (StG 93) died in Austin, Texas (lung cancer), 2011 (was 72)

January 26:

Dave Rowland of Dave & Sugar born in Sanger, California, 1942 (now 75)
Lucinda Williams born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, 1953 (now 64)

James O'Gwynn born in Winchester, Mississippi, 1928 (died 2011)
Clayton McMichen born in Allatoona, Georgia, 1900 (died 1970)
Goebel Reeves died in Long Beach, California (heart attack), 1959 (was 59)

Charlie Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) died in Wartrace, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2011 (was 83)
Hillary Clinton 
disparagingly invoked Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" during an interview, 1992

January 27:

Lee Carroll of Exile born in Glasgow, Kentucky, 1953 (now 64)
Cheryl White of the Whites born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1955 (now 62)
Richard Young of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Glasgow, Kentucky, 1955 (now 62)
Tracy Lawrence born in Atlanta, Texas, 1968 (now 49)
Joe Callahan of the Callahan Brothers born in Madison County, North Carolina, 1910 (died 1971)

Buddy Emmons (SG 81) born in Mishawaka, Indiana, 1937 (died 2015)
Claude Akins died in Altadena, California (cancer), 1994 (was 67). Among the actor's roles was Sonny on the TV series Movin' On, which featured the title song performed by Merle Haggard.

January 28:

Greg Cook of Ricochet born in Vian, Oklahoma, 1965 (now 52)
Bill Phillips born in Canton, North Carolina, 1936 (died 2010)

Harlow Wilcox born in Norman, Oklahoma, 1943 (died 2002)
Skeeter Willis died in Nashville, Tennessee (lymph cancer), 1976 (was 58)
Al Dexter (NS 71) died in Denton, Texas (heart attack), 1984 (was 78)

Jim Bowles (OTF) died in Kentucky (pneumonia), 1993 (was 89)
Jimmy Fortune joined the Statler Brothers, 1982

January 29:


Patsy Sledd born in Falcon, Missouri, 1944 (now 73)
Irlene Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1957 (now 60)

Lloyd Perryman of the Sons of the Pioneers born in Ruth, Arkansas, 1917 (died 1977)
Little Jimmy Sizemore born in Paintsville, Kentucky, 1928 (died 2014)

January 30:

Jeanne Pruett born in Pell City, Alabama, 1937 (now 80)
Norma Jean ("Pretty Miss Norma Jean") born in Wellston, Oklahoma, 1938 (now 79)
Harold Morrison born in High Lonesome, Missouri, 1931 (died 1993)
Melvin Endsley born in Drasco, Arkansas, 1934 (died 2004)
Ott Devine died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1994 (was 83)

January 31:

Lynwood Lunsford of Lost & Found born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1962 (now 54)
Warren Smith died in Longview, Texas (heart attack), 1981 (was 47)

Doc Williams died in Wheeling, West Virginia (natural causes), 2011 (was 96)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tommy Allsup Dies

Category: News/Obituary

Guitarist and producer Tommy Allsup managed to survive the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson, and Ritchie Valens...by losing a coin toss.  

Allsup died yesterday (1/11) in Springfield, Missouri.  Billboard magazine reported that Allsup died from complications following hernia surgery.

Tommy Allsup joined Buddy Holly's band following the break-up of the Crickets, along with Waylon Jennings on bass.  They were on the "Winter Dance Party" with a number of other young rock and rockabilly acts.  Due to the poor bus conditions (which resulted in Buddy's drummer ending up in the hospital because his feet got frostbitten) Holly decided to charter a plane for him and his two musicians.  Jennings, noticing that Richardson ("The Big Bopper") was suffering with the flu, opted to take the bus so Richardson could get some rest and medication.  Allsup, as he later recounted, was ready to board the plane when an anxious Ritchie Valens asked if they could swap places.  Allsup pulled out a half-dollar piece and told Valens, "Call it."  

"Heads," Tommy recounted the 17-year-old young singer's call.

Heads it was.  Allsup went on the bus.

Tommy Allsup went on to make a significant mark in music, including working with Bob Wills.  He played guitar on and produced Bob Wills' final album, For the Last Time.  (Shortly after recording the Cindy Walker song, "What Makes Bob Holler," for that album Wills suffered a debilitating stroke that silenced his famous "ah-ha" call and left him bedridden for the final year of his life.)  He also produced albums by the western swing act Asleep At the Wheel.  As a session man, his work varied from Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors" to the rock song "In the Year 2525."

Allsup was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.  He kept an active schedule until the very end, including playing annually at the Winter Dance Party memorial/tribute concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  He was scheduled to play there this year as well.

Farewell to Tommy Allsup, who was 85.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Dates of Note in Country Music, January 1-15

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; RR=also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

January 1:


Frank Kettering of the Hoosier Hot Shots born in Monmouth, Illinois, 1909 (died 1973)
Hank Williams (CM 61, NS 70, RR 87) died in the back seat of a car between Knoxville, Tennessee and Oak Hill, West Virginia (cardiac arrest), 1953 (was 29)
Aubrey "Moon" Mullican (NS 76) died in Beaumont, Texas (heart attack), 1967 (was 57)
Floyd "Salty" Holmes of the Prairie Ramblers died (unknown cause), 1970 (was 60)
Townes Van Zandt died in Mount Juliet, Tennessee (heart attack), 1997 (was 52)
Del Reeves died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2007 (was 73)

Patti Page (Clara Fowler) died in Encinitas, California (long illness), 2013 (was 85)
Cousin Jody (ne James Summey) quit Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys (along with two other members), 1939.  Acuff replaced Cousin Jody with Beecher Ray Kirby, who was later nicknamed "Bashful Brother Oswald."
Johnny Cash played at San Quentin prison, 1959. Among the prisoners in attendance was Merle Haggard.

The first episode of The Porter Wagoner Show aired in syndication, 1961

January 2:

Harold Bradley (CM 06) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1926 (now 91)
Dick Feller born in Bronaugh, Missouri, 1943 (now 74)
Roger Miller (CM 95, NS 73) born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1936 (died 1992)
Red Smiley (BG 92) died in Richmond, Virginia (complications from diabetes), 1972 (was 47)
Tex Ritter (CM 64, NS 71) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1974 (was 68)
Wayne Walker (NS 75) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1979 (was 53)

Little Jimmy Dickens (CM 83) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure/stroke), 2015 (was 94)

January 3:

Nikki Nelson of Highway 101 born in San Diego, California, 1969 (now 48)

Leon McAuliffe (StG 78) born in Houston, Texas, 1917 (died 1988)
Elwood Goins (BG 09) born in Bramwell, WV, 1936 (died 2007)
Felton Jarvis died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1981 (was 46)
Doye O'Dell died in Northridge, California (complications of a stroke), 2001 (was 88)

Quanah Talmadge Tubb (better known as Billy Talmadge Tubb) died in El Paso, Texas (unknown causes), 2007 (was 81)
Phil Everly (CM 01, RR 86) died in Burbank, California (COPD), 2014 (was 74)
Grandpa Jones suffered stroke after performing on the Grand Ole Opry, 1998
Sam Phillips opened Sun Recording Studio, 1950

January 4:

Mike Henderson born in Independence, Missouri, 1955 (now 62)
Kathy Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1955 (now 62)
Patty Loveless born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 1957 (now 60)
Deana Carter born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1966 (now 51)

Lorene Mann born in Huntland, Tennessee, 1937 (died 2013)
Clayton McMichen died in Battletown, Kentucky (unknown causes), 1970 (was 69)
Jake Hess (SG 97) died in Opelika, Alabama (complications of heart attack), 2004 (was 76)
First barn dance program in America airs on WBAP, Fort Worth, Texas, 1923

January 5:


Steve Ripley of the Tractors born in Boise, Idaho, 1950 (now 67)
Iris DeMent born in Paragould, Arkansas, 1961 (now 56)

Big Bill Lister born in Kenedy, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Sam Phillips (Sun Records owner) (CM 01, RR 86) born in Florence, Alabama, 1923 (died 2003)
Tug McGraw, former baseball pitcher and father of Tim McGraw, died in his son's home in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2004 (was 59)

January 6:


Joey Miskulin ("Joey the Cow Polka King") of Riders in the Sky born in Chicago, Illinois, 1949 (now 68)
Jett Williams born in Montgomery, Alabama, 1953 (now 64)
Harry "Hap" Peebles born in Anthony, Kansas, 1913 (died 1993)

Earl Scruggs (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07; GLA 08) born in Flint Hill, North Carolina, 1924 (died 2012)
Autry Inman born in Florence, Alabama, 1929 (died 1988)
Bobby Lord born in Sanford, Florida, 1934 (died 2008)
Chubby Wise (BG 98) died in Bowie, Maryland (heart attack), 1996 (was 80)
Bobby Austin died in Camas, Washington (illness), 2002 (was 68)
Sneaky Pete Kleinkow died in Petaluma, California (complications of Alzheimer's disease), 2007 (was 72)
Ken Nelson (CM 01) died in Somis, California (natural causes), 2008 (was 96)

January 7:

Leona Williams born in Vienna, Missouri, 1943 (now 74)
Marshall Chapman born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1949 (now 68)
David Lee Murphy born in Herrin, Illinois, 1959 (now 58)
Bunny Biggs (Jamup of Jamup and Honey) born, 1897 (died 1948)

Jack Greene born in Maryville, Tennessee, 1930 (died 2013)
Owen Bradley (CM 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart ailment/complications of flu), 1998 (was 82)

January 8:

Christy Lane born in Peoria, Illinois, 1940 (now 77)

Holly Tashian born in New York, New York, 1946 (now 71)
Hoke Rice of the Rice Brothers born in Gainesville, Georgia, 1909 (died 1974)
Luther Perkins born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1928 (died 1968)
Elvis Presley (CM 98, RR 86; GLA 71) born in Tupelo, Mississippi, 1935 (died 1977)
Randall Hylton born in Willis, Virginia, 1946 (died 2001)
Sara Carter (CM 70, BG 01; GLA 05) died in Lodi, California (lengthy illness), 1979 (was 79)
Maxwell Emmett "Pat" Buttram, died in Los Angeles, California (kidney failure), 1994 (was 78)

Red Simpson died in Bakersfield, California (heart attack), 2016 (was 81)
The U.S. Postal Service issues a 29c postage stamp featuring Elvis Presley, 1993. The stamp is the Postal Service's best-selling commemorative stamp of all-time, with sales of over 517,000,000.
Billboard magazine publishes first "Hillbilly Records" chart, 1944. The first #1 song was "Pistol Packin' Mama" -- the Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters' version. Al Dexter's original would be the second #1 song in Billboard chart history.

January 9:

Henry Slaughter (SG 06) born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1927 (now 90)

Roy Head born in Three Rivers, Texas, 1943 (now 74)
Crystal Gayle born in Paintsville, Kentucky, 1951 (now 66)
Jimmy Day (StG 82) born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1934 (died 1999)
Big Al Downing born in Lenapah, Oklahoma, 1940 (died 2005)

Jimmy Boyd ("I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus") born in McComb, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2009)
Richard Nixon born in Yorba Linda, California, 1913 (died 1994). Nixon was the first sitting U.S. president to attend the Grand Ole Opry (1974).
Jon Hager of the Hager Twins died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2009 (was 67)

January 10:

Curly Ray Cline (BG 09) born in Braisden, West Virginia, 1923 (died 1997)
Zeb Turner died (cancer), 1978 (was 62)
Loretta Webb married Oliver "Mooney" Lynn, 1948

January 11:

Naomi Judd born in Ashland, Kentucky, 1946 (now 71)
Robert Earl Keen born in Houston, Texas, 1956 (now 61)

Kelly Hogan born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1965 (now 51)
Tommy Duncan born in Hillsboro, Texas, 1911 (died 1967)
Goldie Hill Smith born in Kanes County, Texas, 1933 (died 2005)

Max D. Barnes (NS 92) died in Nashville, Tennesee (pneumonia), 2004 (was 67)
Jimmy Griffin of the Remingtons died in Franklin, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 61)

Margaret Whiting died in Englewood, New Jersey (natural causes), 2011 (was 86)
Stonewall Jackson filed $10 million age discrimination lawsuit against the Grand Ole Opry, 2007

January 12:

William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys (CM 15) born in Brewton, Alabama, 1939 (now 78)
Ricky Van Shelton born in Danville, Virginia, 1952 (now 65)
LaWanda Lindsey born in Tampa, Florida, 1953 (now 64)
Claudia Church Crowell born in Lenoir, North Carolina, 1962 (now 55)

Tex Ritter (CM 64, NS 71) born in Panola County, Texas, 1905 (died 1974)
Jack Rhodes (NS 72) born in Gedden, Texas, 1907 (died 1968)
Ray Price (CM 96) born in Perryville, Texas, 1926 (died 2013)
Paul Warren (BG 13) died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 1978 (was 59)
Charlie Collins died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2012 (was 78)
The film O Brother, Where Art Thou opened nationwide, 2001. The soundtrack won three Grammy awards: Album of the Year, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (Dan Tyminski, "Man of Constant Sorrow"), and Best Male Country Vocal Performance (Dr. Ralph Stanley, "O Death"). It also sold over eight million copies and sparked a brief resurgence in the popularity of bluegrass and traditional country music.

January 13:

Trace Adkins born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1962 (now 55)

Ezra Cline (BG 09) born in Gilbert Creek, VA, 1907 (died 1984)
Jenny Lou Carson (NS 71) born in Decatur, Illinois, 1915 (died 1978)

Stephen Foster (NS 10) died in New York New York (complications of fever and blood loss from cut), 1864 (was 37)
Doyle Holly died in Nashville, Tennessee (prostate cancer), 2007 (was 70)

January 14:

Joseph Henry "T-Bone" Burnett born in St. Louis Missouri, 1948 (now 69).  An Americana music performer and producer (of albums by Los Lobos and the BoDeans), he was the producer of the award-winning soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou.

Billie Jo Spears born in Beaumont, Texas, 1937 (died 2011) 

January 15:

Peter Kuykendall (BG 96), co-founder of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, born in Wasington, DC, 1938 (now 79)

David Lynn Jones born in Bexar, Arkansas, 1950 (now 67)
Kurt Howell of Southern Pacific born in Winter Haven, Florida, 1958 (now 59)

Billy Walker born in Ralls, Texas, 1929 (died 2006)
Ron Davies born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1946 (died 2003)
Jack Guthrie died in Livermore, California (tuberculosis), 1948 (was 32)
Vic Willis died in Hohenwald, Tennessee (car wreck), 1995 (was 72)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Country's Final Bows of 2016

Category:  Tribute 

Here are the performers who sang their final song in 2016.

Bonnie Brown (July 16, lung cancer, age 77):  one-third of the Country Music Hall of Fame sibling trio the Browns, she lost her battle with lung cancer 13 months after her brother Jim Ed's death from the same disease.

Rick Christian (May 3, unknown cause, age 61):  songwriter best known for writing Kenny Rogers' hit "I Don't Need You."

Guy Clark (May 17, long illness, age 74):  far beyond a "songwriter's songwriter," he was more of a novelist's novelist.  One of the most brilliant, heart-touching, detailed storytelling songwriters of this -- or any other -- generation.

Jack Davis (July 27, natural causes, age 91): the co-founder of Mad magazine lent his brilliant artistic skills to a number of country music album covers, including those by Ben Colder, Johnny Cash, and nine Homer & Jethro albums.

Andrew Dorff (December 19, unknown causes, age 40): songwriter with a number of modern hits including Kenny Chesney's "Save It for a Rainy Day."

Holly Dunn (November 15, ovarian cancer, age 59):  singer/songwriter with a string of hits in the 90s including "You Really Had Me Going" and her signature song, "Daddy's Hands."

Richard Fagan (August 5, liver cancer, age 69): country songwriter who wrote hits for Mel McDaniel ("Real Good Feel Good Song"), George Strait ("Overnight Male"), and John Michael Montgomery ("Sold [The Grundy County Auction Incident]").  His "Overnight Male" co-writer, Kim Williams, also died this year.

Joey Feek (March 4, cervical cancer, age 40):  half of the husband-and-wife duo Joey + Rory who had a TV series on RFD TV and saw their album, Hymns, debut at #1 on the Billboard country charts despite being "too country" and never having a "hit."

Brien Fisher (March 11, unknown cause, age 82):  Nashville music producer whose best-known work included hits with the Kendalls such as "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" and Vern Gosdin's "Today My World Slipped Away."

Joey Floyd (February 15, cancer, age 54):  longtime guitarist in Toby Keith's band.

Glenn Frey (January 18, pneumonia/acute ulcerative colitis, age 67):  co-founder of the legendary Eagles, the band that personified country-rock in the 70's, and lead singer on their biggest country hit, "Lyin' Eyes."

Gogi Grant (March 10, natural causes, age 91):  pop singer who recorded what is probably the best-known version of the classic song "The Wayward Wind."

Mark Gray (December 2, unknown cause, age 64): one-time member of the country-rock band Exile and songwriter of Alabama's hits "The Closer You Get" and "Take Me Down."

Ray Griff (March 9, post-operative pneumonia, age 75):  Canadian-born country singer with a string of hits in the 70's including "If I Let Her Come In," "Patches," and "You Ring My Bell."

Merle Haggard (April 6, pneumonia, age 79):  the legendary "poet of the common man" who sang of prison, blue collar life, and heartache died on his 79th birthday.

Bill Ham (June 22, natural causes, age 79):  Texas-based manager of rock legends ZZ Top as well as the man who discovered and managed country superstar Clint Black.

Hoot Hester (August 30, cancer, age 66):  fiddler for the Opry staff band for years who backed acts as diverse as the Manhattan Transfer and Ray Charles.  He helped co-found the Time Jumpers.  And, on a personal note, he was my aunt's cousin.

Dan Hicks (February 6, liver cancer, age 74):  eclectic and quirky singer/songwriter, best known for the song "I Scare Myself," who incorporated elements of country, western swing, and jazz into his performances.

Pete Huttlinger (January 15, stroke, age 54):  noted flat picker guitarist who made several solo albums as well as toured with LeAnn Rimes and John Denver.

Bud Isaacs (September 4, natural causes, age 88): the Steel Guitar Hall of Famer who played on the first #1 song to feature a pedal steel ("Slowly" by Webb Pierce in 1953), he was a steel guitar master and innovator.

Sonny James (February 22, natural causes, age 86):  Country Music Hall of Famer who went from playing fiddle as a session musician to international superstardom with hits such as "Young Love," "True Love's a Blessing," and "Born to Be With You."

Kacey Jones (September 1, colon cancer, age 66):  humorist, singer, musician, leader of the country humor act Ethel and the Shameless Hussies, and a writer of songs such as Mickey Gilley's hit "I'm the One Mama Warned You About."

James King (May 19, liver disease, age 58):  bluegrass singer who went from an unofficial member of Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys to leader of the James King Band and member of the supergroup Longview, known for his heartfelt story songs such as "Thirty Years of Farming" and "Bed By the Window."

John D. Loudermilk (September 21, bone cancer, age 82): Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer who wrote countless songs from lighthearted novelty songs ("Road Hog") to love songs (Bob Luman's "The Great Snowman") to protest songs ("Indian Reservation [Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian]").

Charlie "Sonny" Louvin Jr. (January 27, unknown causes, age 61):  the son of Hall of Fame member Charlie Louvin frequently played guitar with his father on the road and on the Grand Ole Opry.

Lana Meisner (March 6, accidental shooting, age 63):  wife of original Eagles bassist/vocalist Randy Meisner.

Ned Miller (March 18, natural causes, age 90):  singer and songwriter whose best-known composition was "From a Jack to a King," a hit for himself and Ricky Van Shelton and covered by acts from Jim Reeves to Elvis Presley.

Chips Morman (June 13, long illness, age 79):  Grammy-winning songwriter (for BJ Thomas' hit "[Hey, Won't You Play] Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song") who also contributed songs as diverse as "The Dark End of the Street" (an R&B hit covered by Archie Campbell) and "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)."  Morman died the day after his 79th birthday.

Don Parmley (July 30, long illness, age 82): banjo player and founder of the bluegrass band the Bluegrass Cardinals.

Joyce Paul (February 15, unknown cause, age 78):  60's country singer who had songs such as "Phone Call to Mama" and "I'm the Girl on the Billboard."

Gary S. Paxton (July 16, unknown cause, age 77): singer, songwriter, and producer who went from a member of the Hollywood Argyles ("Alley Oop") to country hits songwriter ("Woman (Sensuous Woman)" for Don Gibson) to Grammy-winning gospel songwriter and performer.

Curtis Potter (January 23, pneumonia, age 75):  a member of Hank Thompson's Brazos Valley Boys, he enjoyed his own career as well as performing with Tony Booth and Darrell McCall as The Survivors.

Curly Putman (October 30, long illness, age 85):  Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member who wrote or co-wrote countless hits, including "Green, Green Grass of Home," "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," and "War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)."

Jim Ridley (April 8, cardiac arrest, age 50):  longtime editor and journalist at the Nashville Scene music paper.

Floyd Robinson (May 28, long illness, age 79):  songwriter and singer who had one charted hit, the controversial 1959 country crossover song "Makin' Love."

Mildred Haynes Rymer (November 10, stroke, age 86): sister of Henry "Homer" Haynes of Homer & Jethro.

Jean Shepard (September 25, Parkinson's disease, age 82): Country Music Hall of Fame singer who began as the duet partner on "A Dear John Letter" and went on to legendary status with a career that spanned seven decades.

Red Simpson (January 8, heart attack, age 81):  one of the unsung heroes of the Bakersfield sound, he had one of the great "truck driving" songs with "Roll, Truck, Roll," wrote hits for Buck Owens ("Sam's Place"), and played on Merle Haggard's legendary "Okie From Muskogee."

Icey Sloan-Hawkins (December 17, stabbed to death, age 18): granddaughter of Jean Shepard and Hawkshaw Hawkins.  She was killed by her ex-boyfriend, who was then shot by Shepard's widower Benny Birchfield (who also suffered stab wounds).

Carol Smith (December 24, natural causes, age 94):  songwriter who collaborated on a number of Sonny James hits including "True Love's a Blessing," "A Little Bit South of Saskatoon," and "Don't Keep Me Hanging On."

Dr. Ralph Stanley (June 23, skin cancer, age 89):  one of the most important and significant figures in bluegrass history, Ralph overcame the 1966 death of his brother and music partner Carter to become the standard by which bluegrass performers are measured.

Kay Starr (November 3, Alzheimer's disease, age 94): singer with a long string of pop and jazz hits, she also had two top ten country hits in 1950 singing with Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Gordie Tapp (December 18, pneumonia, age 94): the head writer and one of the mainstays of the long running TV series Hee Haw.

Bob Tubert (April 10, natural causes, age 90):  Ozark Jubilee scriptwriter, music publisher who helped found the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and helped establish Belmont University's Music Business program.

Janet Watson (February 8, unknown cause, age 70):  a Broadway choreographer who worked on the play Big River, which earned Roger Miller a Tony.

Kim Williams (February 11, unknown cause, age 68):  2012 Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame inductee who gave us, among others, Joe Diffie's "If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets," George Strait's "Overnight Male," and Randy Travis' classic "Three Wooden Crosses."

Mentor Williams (November 16, unknown cause, age 70): country music singer/songwriter who teamed up with Troy Seals for a number of country hits ("A Few Ole Country Boys") but will be best remembered for his oft-covered song, "Drift Away" (which was a country hit for Narvel Felts in 1973).  He was also the longtime partner of Lynn Anderson.

Rick Wright (February 7, car wreck, age 57):  guitarist for Connie Smith's band for nearly two decades.

Steve Young (March 17, complications from a brain injury, age 73):  "outlaw" singer/songwriter best known for writing the classics "Lonesome, Orn'ry and Mean" and "Seven Bridges Road."

Farewell, and thank you for the music.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Where, Oh Where Are You Tonight


Category: News/Obituary

If it surprises anyone, we've lost yet another well-known name from country music.

Gordie Tapp, the Canadian comic and storyteller who became one of the mainstays on Hee Haw, died Sunday (12/18) of pneumonia in Burlington, Ontario.

By the time he came to Hee Haw in 1968 Gordon Robert Tapp was already a well-known country performer in his native country.  He was featured on several programs on the CBC, including Country Hoedown.  That's where he debuted the "Cousin Clem" character, the hayseed man who later became one of his most enduring roles on Hee Haw.

In addition to Cousin Clem, Tapp was Archie Campbell's duet partner on the oft-seen "Pfft! You Were Gone" routine.  Tapp would stand, leaning against a pitchfork while Archie Campbell (who actually had a 45 of the song released on RCA) sang a verse.  Campbell would then nudge Tapp, who'd look up with a distraught face and join in the chorus of, "Where, oh where are you tonight?  Why did you leave me here all alone?  I searched the world over and I thought I'd found true love.  You met another and pfft! you was [sic] gone."  Occasionally guest stars (ranging from Johnny Cash to Loretta Lynn) would take Tapp's place, surprising Campbell.

Tapp was also the lead writer for Hee Haw.

In 1990 Gordie Tapp was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.  He was also awarded the Order of Canada in 1998.

Survivors include his wife, Helen, to whom he was married for 73 years.

Farewell to Gordie Tapp, who was 94.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Jean Shepard's Granddaughter Murdered

Category: News

Just weeks after the death of Country Music Hall of Fame legend Jean Shepard the family has had a second tragedy inflicted on them.

In the early morning hours of Friday night/Saturday morning (12/17) Icey Sloan-Hawkins, the granddaughter of Jean Shepard, was stabbed to death during an altercation with her one-time boyfriend.  Shepard's widower, Benny Birchfield, was also stabbed.  He shot and killed the 21-year-old who attacked him and Sloan-Hawkins, according to a report in the Nashville Tennessean.

The incident happened about 3 AM Nashville time.  The man attacked Sloan-Hawkins, who had been living at her grandmother's to provide assistance as Shepard's health deteriorated due to Parkinson's disease, then attacked Birchfield when he came to investigate the commotion.  Birchfield retrieved a gun and killed the man.

Birchfield was released from the hospital today (12/19).  Sloan-Hawkins will be buried in Goodlettesville next to her grandfather, Hawkshaw Hawkins, who died in 1963 in a plane crash with Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, December 16-31

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; DJ=Country Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar WS=Western Swing; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; RR=also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


December 16:


Jim Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1937 (now 79)
Jeff Carson born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1964 (now 52)
Shelby Singleton born in Waskom, Texas, 1931 (died 2009)
Jenny Lou Carson (NS 71) died in Torrance, California (unknown causes), 1978 (was 63)
Martha Carson died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2004 (was 83)
Gary Stewart died in Fort Pierce, Florida (suicide [gunshot]), 2003 (was 58)
Dan Fogelberg died in Deer Island, Maine (cancer), 2007 (was 56)

Ray Price (CM 96) died in Mount Pleasant, Texas (pancreatic cancer), 2013 (was 87)

December 17:


Frankie Miller born in Victoria, Texas, 1931 (now 85)
Sharon White Skaggs born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1953 (now 63) 
Tracy Byrd born in Vidor, Texas, 1966 (now 50)
Karl Davis born in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, 1905 (died 1979)
Spade Cooley born in Grand, Oklahoma, 1910 (died 1969)
Nat Stuckey born in Cass County, Texas, 1933 (died 1988)
Roy Huskey Jr. born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1956 (died 1997)
Rex Allen Sr. died in Tuscon, Arizona (accidentally run over by car), 1999 (was 77)
Lance LeRoy (BG 00) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2015 (was 84)
Commercial plane carrying Doug Stone crash-lands in Chicago, 1999. Stone was uninjured.

December 18:

Cledus T. Judd (real name: James Poole) born in Crowe Springs, Georgia, 1964 (now 52)
Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) (NS 71) born in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, 1904 (died 1996)
The Louvin Brothers' first recording session (they recorded "Alabama") at Castle Studios, Nashville, 1947

December 19:

John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bang born in Long Beach, California, 1945 (now 71)
Janie Fricke born in South Whitney, Indiana, 1947 (now 69)
Jumpin' Bill Carlisle (CM 02) born in Wakefield, Kentucky, 1908 (died 2003)
Little Jimmy Dickens (CM 83) born in Bolt, West Virginia, 1920 (died 2015)
Marion Worth died in Madison, Tennessee (emphysema), 1999 (was 69)
Hank Williams' last show, given at the Skyline Club, Austin, Texas, 1952
Johnny Paycheck shot a man outside a bar in Greenfield, Ohio, 1985

December 20:

Skeeter Willis of the Willis Brothers born in Colton, Oklahoma, 1917 (died 1976)
Jack Stapp (CM 89) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1980 (was 68)
Don Law (CM 01) died in LaMarque, Texas (unknown cause), 1982 (was 80)

Hank Snow (CM 79, NS 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (various illnesses), 1999 (was 85)
Chip Young died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from heart surgery), 2014 (was 76)

December 21:

Freddie Hart (NS 04) born in Lockapoke, Alabama, 1926 (now 90)
Lee Roy Parnell born in Abilene, Texas, 1956 (now 60)
Christy Forrester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1962 (now 54)
Vito Pellettieri born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1889 (died 1977)
Floyd "Lightnin'" Chance born in Como, Mississippi, 1925 (died 2005)

Natchee the Indian (ne Lester Vernon Storer) died in Santa Clara, California (unknown cause), 1970 (was 54)
John Bailes of the Bailes brothers died (unknown cause), 1989 (was 71)
Harold Morrison died in Springfield, Missouri (illness), 1993 (was 62)


December 22:

Red Stegall born in Gainesville, Texas, 1937 (now 79)
Chuck Mead of BR5-49 born in Nevada, Missouri, 1960 (now 56)
Paul Martin of Exile born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1962 (now 54)
Harold "Hawkshaw" Hawkins born in Huntington, West Virginia, 1921 (died 1963)
Dave Dudley died in Danbury, Wisconsin (heart attack), 2003 (was 75)
Dennis Linde (NS 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung disease), 2006 (was 63)

December 23:

Murray "Buddy" Harman born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2008)


December 24:


Lulu Belle Wiseman born in Boone, North Carolina, 1913 (died 1999)
Zane Beck (StG 91) born in Clarksville, Arkansas, 1927 (died 1985)
Jake Hess (SG 97) born in Limestone County, Alabama, 1927 (died 2004)
Stoney Edwards born in Seminole, Oklahoma, 1929 (died 1997)
William J. "Billy" Hill (NS 82) died in Boston, Massachusetts (heart attack), 1940 (was 41)
Charlie Moore died in Maryland (illness), 1979 (was 44)

December 25:

J.R. "Curly" Seckler (BG 04) born in China Grove, North Carolina, 1919 (now 97)
Jimmy Buffett (NS 06) born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, 1946 (now 70)

Barbara Mandrell (CM 09, StG 09) born in Houston, Texas, 1948 (now 68)
Steve Wariner born in Noblesville, Indiana, 1954 (now 62)
Alton Delmore (CM 01, NS 71) born in Elkmont, Alabama, 1908 (died 1964)
Billy Nelson, Willie Nelson's son, died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide [hanged self]), 1991 (was 33)
Johnny Cash and family robbed and held at gunpoint in their Jamaica home, 1982

December 26:

Ronnie Prophet born in Calument, Quebec, 1938 (now 78)
Bob Carpenter of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 70)

Travis Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Greenwood, South Carolina, 1958 (now 58)
Audrey Wiggins born in Asheville, North Carolina, 1967 (now 49)
Beecher Ray "Pete" "Bashful Brother Oswald" Kirby born in Sevier County, Tennessee, 1911 (died 2002)
Harry Choates born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1911 (died 1951)
Jimmie Osborne died in Louisville, Kentucky (suicide [gunshot]), 1957 (was 34)
Red Foley and wife Sally injured in a fire in their apartment in Nashhville, 1964

December 27:


Leonard T. "LT" Zinn (StG 05) born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1924 (now 92)
Les Taylor of Exile born in Oneida, Kentucky, 1948 (now 68)
Darrin Vincent of Dailey & Vincent born in Kirkville, Missouri, 1969 (now 47)

Scotty Moore (RR 00) born in Gadsden, Tennessee, 1931 (died 2016)
John Hughey (StG 96) born in Elaine, Arkansas, 1933 (died 2007)
Bob Luman died in Nashville, Tennessee (pneumonia), 1978 (was 41)
Hoagy Carmichael (NS 88) died in Rancho Mirage, California (heart ailment), 1981 (was 82)
Kent Robbins (NS 98) died in Clanton, Alabama (car wreck), 1997 (was 50)
Vestal Goodman (SG 02) died in Celebration, Florida (complications from the flu), 2003 (was 74)
Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland died in Orange Park, Florida (staph infection), 2004 (was 74)

December 28:

Joe Diffie born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1958 (now 58)
Mike McGuire of Shenandoah born in Haleyville, Alabama, 1958 (now 58)
Marty Roe of Diamond Rio born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1960 (now 56)
Dorsey Burnette born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1979)
Mike Auldridge (BG 14) died in Silver Spring, Maryland (cancer), 2012 (was 73)
Hank Williams Jr.'s first recording session at age 14, 1963

December 29:

Rose Lee Maphis born in Baltimore, Maryland, 1922 (now 94)
Ed Bruce born in Keiser, Arkansas, 1939 (now 77)

December 30:

Suzy Bogguss born in Aledo, Illinois, 1956 (now 60)
Joaquin Murphey (StG 80) born in Hollywood, California, 1923 (died 1999)
Bob Ferguson born in Willow Spring, Missouri, 1927 (died 2001)
Orville "Red" Rhodes (StG 05) born in Alton, Illinois, 1930 (died 1995)
Skeeter Davis (nee Mary Frances Penick) born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, 1931 (died 2004)
Melvin Goins (BG 09) born in Bramwell, West Virginia, 1933 (died 2016)
John Hartford (BG 10) born in New York, New York, 1937 (died 2001)
Mike Auldridge (BG 14) born in Washington, DC, 1938 (died 2012)
Elsie McWilliams (NS 79) died in Meridian, Mississippi (natural causes), 1985 (was 89)
Henry Strzelecki died in Nashville, Tennessee (hit by car), 2014 (was 75)


December 31:


Talmade Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincolnton, Georgia, 1934 (now 82)
Rex Allen Sr. born in Wilcox, Arizona, 1920 (died 1999)
Dale Noe born in New Boston, Ohio, 1927 (died 2005)
John Denver born in Roswell, New Mexico, 1943 (died 1997)
Rick Nelson died in DeKalb, Texas (plane crash), 1985 (was 45)
Floyd Cramer (CM 03) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1997 (was 64)
Jim McReynolds of Jim & Jesse (BG 93) died in Gallatin, Tennessee (cancer), 2002 (was 75)
Charlie Louvin injured in car accident near Manchester, Tennessee, 2001
The original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum building closed, 2000

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, December 1-15

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; DJ=Country Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; WS=Western Swing; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; RR=country performer also in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)

December 1:

Darryl Ellis born in Norfolk, Virginia, 1964 (now 52)
Silm Willet born in Dublin, Texas, 1919 (died 1966)
Jim Nesbitt born in Bishopville, South Carolina, 1931 (died 2007)
Fred Rose (CM 61, NS 70) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure), 1954 (was 57)
Carter Stanley (BG 92) died in Bristol, Tennessee (cirrhosis of the liver), 1966 (was 41)

December 2:

John Wesley Ryles born in Bastrop, Louisiana, 1950 (now 66)
Herman Crook born in Scottsboro, Tennessee, 1898 (died 1988)
Marvin Hughes died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1986 (was 75)
"Tennessee Waltz" recorded by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart, 1947

December 3:

Paul Gregg of Restless Heart born in New York, New York, 1954 (now 62)
Ferlin Husky (CM 10) born in Flat River, Missouri, 1927 (died 2011)
Rabon Delmore (CM 01, NS 71) born in Dothan, Alabama, 1916 (died 1952)
Hubert Long (CM 79) born in Poteet, Texas, 1923 (died 1972)
Lew Childre died in Foley, Albama (various health issues), 1961 (was 60)
Grady Martin died (heart attack), 2001 (was 72)
Homer Bailes of the Bailes Brothers died in Ruston, Louisiana (natural causes), 2013 (was 91)
Bob Wills recorded "What Makes Bob Holler," 1973.  He suffered a stroke during the night after the recording session and never spoke or sang again.

December 4:

Chris Hillman born in Los Angeles, California, 1944 (now 72)
Rabon Delmore (CM 01, NS 71) died in Athens, Alabama (lung cancer), 1952 (was 36)
Connie B. Gay (CM 80) died in Fairfax, Virginia (cancer), 1989 (was 75)
Bob Montgomery died in Lee's Summit, Missouri (Parkinson's disease), 2014 (was 77)
Eddy Arnold's first record session as a solo artist, 1944
Sun Records' "Million Dollar Quartet" of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis record together, 1956
Connie B. Gay elected inaugural president of the Country Music Association, 1958


December 5:

Jim Messina of Poco born in Harlingen, Texas, 1947 (now 69)
Ty England born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1963 (now 53)
Ray Whitley (NS 81) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1901 (died 1979)
Eddie Alkire (Steel Guitar 83) born in Hacker, West Virginia, 1907 (died 1981)
Michael "Bea" Lilly (BG 02) born in Clear Creek, West Virginia, 1921 (died 2005)
Don Robertson (NS 72) born in Peking, China, 1922 (died 2015)
Molly O'Day died in Huntington, West Virginia (cancer), 1987 (was 64)
Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) (NS 71) died in Scottsdale, Arizona (stomach cancer), 1996 (was 91)
The soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou released, 2000

December 6:

Helen Cornelius born in Hannibal, Missouri, 1941 (now 75)
Bill Lloyd of Foster & Lloyd born in Ft. Hood, Texas, 1955 (now 61)
Hugh Farr (CM 80) born in Llano, Texas, 1903 (died 1980)
Eddie Alkire (StG 83) born in Hacker Valley, West Virginia, 1907 (died 1981)
Jim Eanes born in Mountain Valley, Virginia, 1923 (died 1995)
Huddie "Lead Belly" Leadbetter (NS 80) died in New York, New York (Lou Gehrig's Disease), 1949 (was 60)
Roy Orbison (NS 87) died in Hendersonville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1989 (was 52)

December 7:

Bobby Osborne (BG 94) born in Hyden, Kentucky, 1931 (now 85)
Hugh X. Lewis born in Yeaddiss, Kentucky, 1932 (now 84)
Gary Morris born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1948 (now 68)
Ronnie Sessions born in Henrietta, Oklahoma, 1948 (now 68)
Slim Bryant born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1908 (died 2010)
Darrell Glenn born in Waco, Texas, 1935 (died 1990)
Dawn Sears born in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, 1961 (died 2014)
Bill Boyd died in Dallas, Texas (unknown cause), 1977 (was 67)

December 8:

Marty Raybon born in Stanford, Florida, 1959 (now 57)
Jack Stapp (CM 89) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1912 (died 1980)
Floyd Tillman (CM 83, NS 70) born in Ryan, Oklahoma, 1914 (died 2003)
Marty Robbins (CM 82, NS 75) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1982 (was 57)
Bonnie Lou (Mary Joan Kath) died in Cincinnati, Ohio (natural causes), 2015 (was 91)

December 9:

Billy Edd Wheeler (NS 00) born in Whitesville, Virginia, 1932 (now 84)
David Kersh born in Humble, Texas, 1970 (now 46)
David Houston born in Bossier City, Louisiana, 1938 (died 1993)
Tommy Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1979 (was 53)

December 10:

Johnny Rodriguez born in Sabinal, Texas, 1951 (now 65)
Eddie Miller (NS 75) born in Camargo, Oklahoma, 1919 (died 1977)
Roy Ayers (StG 07) born in Columbus, Mississippi, 1929 (died 2012)
John Duffey (BG 96, BG 14) died (heart attack), 1996 (was 62)
Faron Young (CM 00) died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide [gunshot]), 1996 (was 64)
Jimmy Riddle died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1982 (was 64)
Before the evening's WSM Barn Dance began, announcer George D. Hay commented, "For the past hour, you've been listening to selections taken from grand opera. Now we present Grand Ole Opry," 1927.

December 11:

Brenda Lee (CM 97, RR 02; GLA 09) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1944 (now 72)
Charles Whitstein born in Colfax, Louisiana, 1945 (now 71)
Arthur Q. Smith (ne James Arthur Pritchett) born in Griffin, Georgia, 1909 (died 1963)
Cousin Jody (ne James Summey) born in Sevierville, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1975)
Tom Brumley (StG 92) born in Stella, Missouri, 1935 (died 2009)
Fiddlin' John Carson died in Atlanta, Georgia (natural causes), 1949 (was 81)
Dawn Sears died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2014 (was 53)
Commercial plane with Tex Ritter aboard as a passenger hijacked to Cuba, 1968

December 12:

LaCosta Tucker born in Seminole, Texas, 1951 (now 65)
Shelton Hank Williams (Hank III) born in Houston, Texas, 1972 (now 44)
Maurice Anderson (StG 06) born in Dallas, Texas, 1934 (died 2013)
Clifton Chenier died in Lafayette, Louisiana (kidney disease related to diabetes), 1987 (was 62)

December 13:

Buck White born in Oklahoma, 1930 (now 86)
Randy Owen of Alabama (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1949 (now 67)
John Anderson (NS 14) born in Orlando, Florida, 1954 (now 62)
Wesley Tuttle born in Lamar, Colorado, 1917 (died 2003)
Wayne Walker (NS 75) born in Quapaw, Oklahoma, 1925 (died 1979)
Millie Kirkham of the Anita Kerr Singers died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of a stroke), 2015 (was 91)
Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman wed, 1934

December 14:

DeFord Bailey (CM 05) born in Smith County, Tennessee, 1899 (died 1982)
Walter Haynes (StG 03) born in Kingsport, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2009)
Charlie Rich born in Forest City, Arkansas, 1932 (died 1995)
Billie Jo Spears died in Vidor, Texas (cancer), 2011 (was 73)

December 15:

Doug Phelps of Kentucky Headhunters born in Leachville, Arkansas, 1960 (now 56)
Alvin Pleasant Carter (CM 70, NS 70, BG 01; GLA 05) born in Maces Spring, Virginia, 1891 (died 1960)
Jerry Wallace born in Guilford, Missouri, 1928 (died 2008)
Ernie Ashworth born in Huntsville, Alabama, 1928 (died 2009)
Nudie Cohn (ne Nuta Kotlyarenko) born in Kiev, Ukraine, 1902 (died 1984)
William Eugene "Red" Rector born in Marshall, North Carolina, 1929 (died 1990)

Hank Williams married Audrey Guy, 1944