Thursday, August 17, 2017

Country Hall of Fame Loses Its Mother

Category: Obituary

The Country Music Hall of Fame has lost a second Hall of Fame members this month.  More significantly, with the passing of Jo Walker-Meador, the Hall of Fame lost the woman who could rightfully be called its mother.

Walker-Meador died Wednesday (8/16) of a stroke in Nashville.  Her death comes nine days after the passing of Glen Campbell from Alzheimer's disease.

Her birth name was Edith Josephine Denning, when she came into the world in 1924.  In 1958 Harry Stone hired Walker-Meador as an office manager for a new organization called the Country Music Association.  By 1962 she was the executive director of the CMA.

In her tenure she oversaw the development of things that we take for granted today: the CMA awards, CMA Fan Fest, and most significantly, the Country Music Hall of Fame.  The 1950s may have been the "golden era" of the music, but Jo Walker-Meador helped make the country music industry a formidable and respectable business in the 60s and beyond.

Walker-Meador stepped down in 1991.  In 1995, the Hall of Fame that she helped make a reality inducted her as a significant industry individual for her vital contributions to country music.

Farewell to Jo Walker-Meador, who was 93.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 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; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; RR=also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


August 16:


Billy Joe Shaver (NS 04) born in Corsica, Texas, 1939 (now 78)

Kathie Lee Gifford born in Paris, France, 1953 (now 64). Gifford began her career as one of the "Hee Haw honeys."
Emory Martin born in Hickman County, Tennessee, 1889 (died 2006). Martin was the one-armed banjo player at the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.
Elvis Presley (CM 98, RR 86, GLA 71) died at Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee (heart failure), 1977 (was 42)
Vassar Clements died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2005 (was 77)
Patsy Montana recorded "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," 1935. The song would become country music's first million-seller by a female.


August 17:

E.W. "Bud" Wendell (CM 98) born in Akron, Ohio, 1927 (now 90)

Wayne Raney (DJ 93) born in Wolf Bayou, Arkansas, 1920 (died 1993)

 
August 18:


Bob Koefer (StG 04) born in Clay Center, Kansas, 1928 (now 89)

Allen Reynolds (NS 00) born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, 1938 (now 79)
Hank Penny born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1918 (died 1992)
Molly Bee born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1939 (died 2009)
Johnny Preston born in Port Arthur, Texas, 1939 (died 2011). Preston is best known for "Running Bear," the 1959 hit written by J.P. Richardson and featuring guitar work and backing vocals by George Jones.
Charlie Waller (BG 96) died in Gordonsville, Virginia (heart attack), 2004 (was 69)
The Louvin Brothers played their last official show as a duo (opening for Ray Price) in Watseka, Illinois, 1963. According to Charles Wolfe's biography, the duo that once commanded over $1,100 per show as headliners received $250 for the performance.

August 19:

Roger Cook (NS 97) born in Bristol, England, 1940 (now 77)

Eddy Raven born in Lafayette, Louisiana, 1944 (now 73)
Larry Sasser (StG 11) born in Gainesville, Georgia, 1947 (now 70)
Lee Ann Womack born in Jacksonville, Texas, 1966 (now 51)
Clay Walker born in Beaumont, Texas, 1969 (now 48)
Curly Ray Cline (BG 09) died in Rockhouse, Kentucky (illness), 1997 (was 74)


August 20:


Rudy Gatlin born in Olney, Texas, 1952 (now 65)

John Hiatt (NS 08) born in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1952 (now 65)
Ralph Stanley II born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1958 (now 58)
Jim Reeves born in Galloway, Texas, 1923 (died 1964)
"Sneaky Pete" Kleinow (StG 07) born in South Bend, Indiana, 1934 (died 2007)
Justin Tubb born in San Antonio, Texas, 1935 (died 1998)
Louis Innis died (heart attack), 1982 (was 63)
Leon McAuliffe (StG 78) died in Tulsa, Oklahoma (illness), 1988 (was 71)

Red Rhodes (StG 05) died in Los Angeles, California (lung disease), 1995 (was 64)

 August 21:

Kenny Rogers (CM 13) born in Houston, Texas, 1938 (now 79)

Harold Reid (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1939 (now 78)
Nick Kane of the Mavericks born in Jerusalem, Georgia, 1954 (now 62)
Sam McGee died in Williamson County, Tennessee (tractor accident on his farm), 1975 (was 81)
Murray "Buddy" Harman died in Nashville, Tennessee (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 79)

August 22:

Marian Leighton-Levy (BG 16) born in Harrington, Maine, 1948 (now 69)
Collin Raye born in DeQueen, Arkansas, 1959 (now 58)

Rod Brasfield (CM 87) born in Smithville, Arkansas, 1910 (died 1958)
Connie B. Gay (CM 80) born in Lizard Lick, North Carolina, 1914 (died 1989)
Holly Dunn born in San Antonio, Texas, 1957 (died 2016)
Horace "Aytchie" Burns died in Knoxville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1974 (was 56). Aytchie was a bass player at Knoxville's WNOX and on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. He was also the older brother of Jethro Burns.
Elizabeth Haynes born in Greenville, Kentucky, 1920 (died 1976)
Elizabeth Haynes died in Hammond, Indiana (kidney disease), 1976 (56th birthday). The one-time bass player and "red-headed yodeling gal" on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance was the wife of Homer Haynes.
Leon Chappelear died in Gladewater, Texas (suicide [gunshot]), 1962 (was 53)
Mooney Lynn, the husband of Loretta Lynn, died in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee (heart failure/diabetes), 1996 (was 69)

Floyd Tillman (CM 83, NS 70) died in Houston, Texas (leukemia), 2003 (was 88)

August 23:

Rex Allen, Jr. born in Chicago, Illinois, 1947 (now 70)

Woody Paul of Riders in the Sky born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 68)
Tex Williams born in Anvil, Illinois, 1917 (died 1985)
Leslie York of the York Brothers born in Louisa, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1984)

"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" hit #1 on the Billboard charts, 1952. The song, the first #1 hit for a female singer, was very controversial in its day, with many country stations refusing to play the song and the Grand Ole Opry management prohibiting Kitty Wells from performing the tune on the Opry.

August 24:

Teea Goans born in Lowry City, Missouri, 1980 (now 37)

Fred Rose (CM 61, NS 70) born in Evansville, Indiana, 1897 (died 1954)
Jerry Clower died in Jackson, Mississippi (complications from heart surgery), 1998 (was 71)
Nat Stuckey died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1988 (was 54)

August 25:

Elvis Costello born in London, England, 1954 (now 63). The punk pioneer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has performed with numerous country legends including George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, and Charlie Louvin. Johnny Cash recorded Costello's song "The Big Light" on Johnny Cash is Coming to Town.

Jo Dee Messina born in Holliston, Massachusetts, 1970 (now 47)
Jerry Rivers born in Miami, Florida, 1928 (died 1996)
Cliff Bruner died in Texas City, Texas (cancer), 2000 (was 85)

August 26:

Jimmy Olander of Diamond Rio born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1961 (now 56)

Don Bowman born in Lubbock, Texas, 1937 (died 2013)
Bob Miller (NS 70) died in Nyack, New York (unknown cause), 1955 (was 59)
Wilma Burgess died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2003 (was 64)
Harlow Wilcox died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (heart attack), 2003 (was 59)

August 27:
J.D. Crowe (BG 03) born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1937 (now 80)
Jeff Cook of Alabama (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1949 (now 67)
Carter Stanley (BG 92) born in Dickenson County, Virginia, 1925 (died 1966)
Oliver "Mooney" Lynn, husband of Loretta Lynn, born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, 1926 (died 1996)
Jimmy C. Newman born in Big Mamou, Louisiana, 1927 (died 2014)
Frances Preston (CM 92) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2012)
David "Bunny" Biggs of Jamup & Honey died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown causes), 1948 (was 52)
Jim Denny (CM 66) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1963 (was 52). For his Hall of Fame career, Denny may be most infamous for telling a guest artist after an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck." The person on the receiving end of Denny's criticism was Elvis Presley.

August 28:

LeAnn Rimes born in Jackson, Mississippi, 1982 (now 35)

Billy Grammer born in Benton, Illinois, 1925 (died 2011)
Archie Campbell died in Knoxville, Tennessee (post-operative complications following June heart attack), 1987 (was 67)

August 29:

Don Schlitz (CM 17, NS 93) born in Durham, North Carolina, 1952 (now 65).  Schlitz is part of the Country Music Hall of Fame class of 2017.

Dan Truman of Diamond Rio born in St. George, Utah, 1956 (now 61)
Grady Cole born in Lafayette, Georgia, 1909 (died 1981)


August 30:

Kitty Wells (CM 76, GLA 91) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1919 (died 2012)

Jon Hagar born in Chicago, Illinois, 1946 (died 2009)
Jim Hagar born in Chicago, Illinois, 1946 (died 2008)


August 31:


Noel Boggs (StG 81) died in Los Angeles, California (heart attack), 1974 (was 56)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Ever Gentle on My Mind

Category: Obituary 

Glen Campbell's public, painful struggle with Alzheimer's disease has ended.

The Country Music Hall of Fame member died today (8/8), six years after announcing he had been diagnosed with the dreaded disease.

Born in Delight, Arkansas, Glen Travis Campbell began his legendary career as a session musician, playing the daylights out of the guitar in the L.A.-based "Wrecking Crew" group of studio aces.  In the mid-60s he became a Beach Boy, touring when Brian Wilson's stage fright caused him to pull out of a tour the day before it started.  

From there he took a gorgeous John Hartford song about friendship and love without the pressures of commitment, "Gentle on My Mind," and turned it into a Grammy-winning country and pop hit.  Both Campbell and Hartford received Grammy awards for the song.  The popularity of the song led CBS to give Campbell a "summer replacement" show for the popular, yet controversial, Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (which, if you didn't know, had banjo master Steve Martin as a writer).  His opening song was "Gentle on My Mind," occasionally with Hartford (or just Hartford singing by himself).

From there, Campbell couldn't be stopped for a time.  He had hit after hit in country and pop with a string of Jimmy Webb songs that had city titles: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," and "Galveston."  

As country and pop music changed dramatically in the early 70s Campbell's career faded, but he came roaring back in 1975 with "Rhinestone Cowboy," a song about a down-and-out (and out-of-place) musician in New York City dreaming of hitting the big time.  The song became the first song since "Big Bad John" in 1961 to simultaneously top the country and pop charts the same week.  

Other hits followed on the comeback, including Campbell's cover of the Allen Toussaint song "Southern Nights" (which was also a #1 pop hit as well as a country and "easy listening" chart-topper), "Sunflower," and "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)" before the hits became fewer again.  Still, Campbell managed to score top ten hits in the late 80s with "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" and "She's Gone, Gone, Gone."

As with many other country stars, Campbell tried his hand at acting.  His major screen credit is an excellent performance in the classic John Wayne Oscar-winner True Grit.  He also appeared in Any Which Way You Can, where he provided the title song.

Many celebrities, when they receive such a heartbreaking and terminal diagnosis such as Alzheimer's disease, retreat to privacy.  Campbell decided to give Alzheimer's a very famous face.  He did a "farewell" tour in 2014 and gave the world a touching look into the life of a person slowly succumbing to the clutches of the disease in the documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me. The documentary earned Campbell another Grammy award.

We've known for many years that this day was coming, but that certainly doesn't ease the heartache of knowing this giant is no longer with us.  As a friend of mine, who writes for Rolling Stone Country, said, however, we can find some solace in knowing he is no longer suffering.

Farewell to the Rhinestone Cowboy, who will be ever gentle on our minds.

Glen Campbell was 81.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 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; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

August 1:

Leon Chappelear born in Tyler, Texas, 1909 (died 1962)
Howard "Howdy" Forrester of the Smoky Mountain Boys died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1987 (was 65)
The AFM called a strike against record companies, 1942. The strike, combined with the shortage of shellac because of World War II, severely limited the record companies' output for two years.


August 2:

Ted Harris (NS 90) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1937 (now 80)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) born in Isola, Mississippi, 1935 (died 2010)
Betty Jack Davis died in Cincinnati, Ohio (car wreck), 1953 (was 21)
Joe Allison (NS 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2002 (was 77)
Redd Stewart (NS 70) died in Louisville, Kentucky (complications from a head injury), 2003 (was 82)
The wreckage of Jim Reeves' plane discovered, 1964. The two-day search of wooded areas in and around Nashville for the plane included many country music performers. Eddy Arnold was among those in the party that found and identified Reeves' body.

August 3:

Randy Scruggs born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1953 (now 64)
Dean Sams of Lonestar born in Garland, Texas, 1966 (now 51)
Dorothy Dillard of the Anita Kerr Singers born in Springfield, Missouri, 1923 (died 2015)
Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires (CM 01) born in Gleason, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2013)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) died in Sevierville, Tennessee (heart disease and diabetes complications), 1999 (was 73)


August 4:

Vicki Hackerman of Dave & Sugar born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1950 (now 67)
Louis Armstrong born in New Orleans, 1901 (died 1971). The legendary jazz trumpet player and singer recorded with Jimmie Rodgers.
Carson J. Robison (NS 71) born in Oswego, Kansas, 1890 (died 1957)
James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers (SG 97) born in Ackerman, Mississippi, 1919 (died 2002)
Scotty Stoneman born in Galax, Virginia, 1932 (died 1973)
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts died in Richmond, Kentucky (unknown cause), 1978 (was 81)
Kenny Price died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1987 (was 56)
Billy Sherrill (CM 10, NS 84) died in Nashville, Tennessee (short illness), 2015 (was 78)


August 5:

Bobby Braddock (CM 11, NS 81) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1940 (now 77)
Terri Clark born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1968 (now 49)
Hal Durham born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1931 (died 2009)
Vern "The Voice" Gosdin born in Woodland, Alabama, 1934 (died 2009)
Sammi Smith born in Orange, California, 1943 (died 2005)
Tim Wilson born in Columbus, Georgia, 1961 (died 2014)
Luther Perkins died in Nashville, Tennessee (injuries from a house fire), 1968 (was 40)


August 6:

Billy Robinson (StG 96) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1931 (now 86)
Patsy and Peggy Lynn born in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, 1964 (now 53)
Lisa Stewart born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1968 (now 49)
Old Joe Clark (Manuel Clark), longtime Renfro Valley performer, born in Erwin, Tennessee, 1922 (died 1998)
Billy Bowman (StG 89) died in Columbia, South Carolina (cancer), 1989 (was 60)
Colleen Carroll Brooks died in Yukon, Oklahoma (throat cancer), 1999 (was 70). The former Ozark Mountain Jubilee singer was the mother of Garth Brooks.
Marshall Grant died in Jonesboro, Arkansas (brain aneurysm), 2011 (was 83)


August 7:

B.J. Thomas born in Hugo, Oklahoma, 1942 (now 75)
Rodney Crowell (NS 03) born in Houston, Texas, 1950 (now 67)
Raul Malo of the Mavericks born in Miami, Florida, 1965 (now 52)
Felice Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1925 (died 2003)
Henry "Homer" Haynes (CM 01) died in Hammond, Indiana (heart attack), 1971 (was 51)
Billy Byrd died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2001 (was 81)


August 8:

Mel Tillis (CM 07, NS 76) born in Tampa, Florida, 1932 (now 85)
Phil Balsley of the Statler Brothers (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1939 (now 78)
Jamie O'Hara born in Toledo, Ohio, 1950 (now 67)
Webb Pierce (CM 01) born in West Monroe, Louisiana, 1926 (died 1991)
Dale Warren of the Sons of the Pioneers died in Branson, Missouri (heart failure), 2008 (was 83)
Chuck Seitz died in Cincinnati, Ohio (natural causes), 2012 (was 93).  In addition to serving as recording engineer at King and RCA Seitz co-wrote the classic "Before I Met You."
Hank Williams Jr. critically inured in a fall while mountain climbing on Ajax Mountain in Montana, 1975. Williams' head was split open, his face was shattered, and he lost an eye in the 500-foot fall.


August 9:

Merle Kilgore (NS 98) born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, 1934 (died 2005)
Hal Rugg (StG 89) died in Tuscon, Arizona (cancer), 2005 (was 69)


August 10:

Jerry Kennedy born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1940 (now 77)
Jonie Mosby born in Van Nuys, California, 1940 (now 77)
Gene Johnson of Diamond Rio born in Jamestown, New York, 1949 (now 68)
Delia Upchurch born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, 1891 (died 1976). Upchurch was known as "the Den Mother of Nashville Stars" because she ran a boarding house where struggling musicians and songwriters could stay and pay what they could afford.
Jimmy Martin (BG 95) born in Sneedville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2005)
Jimmy Dean (CM 10) born in Plainview, Texas, 1928 (died 2010)
Alvin "Junior" Samples born in Buena Park, California, 1926 (died 1983)
Billy Grammer died in Benton, Illinois (long-term illness), 2011 (was 85)

August 11:

John Conlee born in Versailles, Kentucky, 1946 (now 71)
Don Helms (StG 84) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2008 (was 81)
Hank Williams fired from the Grand Ole Opry, 1952


August 12:

Mark Knopfler born in Glasgow, Scotland, 1949 (now 68). Knopfler, best known as guitarist and lead singer of Dire Straits, won a "Best Country Vocal Collaboration" Grammy with Chet Atkins in 1990 for the song "Poor Boy Blues."  He also recorded an album of country songs under the pseudonym the Notting Hillbillies.
Rex Griffin (NS 70) born in Gadsden, Alabama, 1912 (died 1958)
Porter Wagoner (CM 02) born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 1927 (died 2007)
Buck Owens (CM 96, NS 96) born in Sherman, Texas, 1929 (died 2006)
Linda Parker of the WLS National Barn Dance died in Mishawaka, Indiana (peritonitis), 1935 (was 23)


August 13:

Lee Roy Abernathy (SG 97) born in Atco, Georgia, 1913 (died 1993)
Dan Fogelberg born in Peoria, Illinois, 1951 (died 2007)
Les Paul died (pneumonia), 2009 (was 94). The legendary guitarist won a Grammy for his work with Chet Atkins on the album Chester and Lester.
Vernon Dalhart recorded "The Prisoner's Song," 1924. The song would sell an estimated seven million copies as country's first million-selling song.


August 14:

Connie Smith (CM 12) born in Elkhart, Indiana, 1941 (now 76)
Charles K. Wolfe (BG 09) born in Sedalia, Missouri, 1943 (died 2006)
Johnny Duncan died in Fort Worth, Texas (heart attack), 2006 (was 67)

August 15:

Ben Eldridge of the Seldom Scene (BG 14) born in Richmond, Virginia, 1938 (now 79)
Jimmy Webb (NS 90) born in Elk City, Oklahoma, 1946 (now 71)
Rose Maddox born in Boaz, Alabama, 1925 (died 1998)
Bobby Helms born in Bloomington, Indiana, 1933 (died 1997)
Don Rich born in Olympia, Washington, 1941 (died 1974)

Lew DeWitt (CM 08) died in Waynesboro, Virginia (complications from Chron's disease), 1990 (was 52)
Will Rogers died near Port Barrow, Alaska (plane crash with Wiley Post), 1935 (was 55)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 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; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


July 16:


Ronny Robbins born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1949 (now 68)
Harry Chapin died in East Meadow, New York (heart attack resulting in car wreck), 1981 (was 38). Chapin, a folk music icon, wrote "Cat's in the Cradle," which gave Ricky Skaggs one of his last country hits.
Jo Stafford died in Century City, California (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 90). The pop singer also did country, including appearing on Red Ingle & Natural Seven's hit "Tem-Tay-Shun."
Kitty Wells (CM 76) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2012 (was 92)
Bonnie Brown (CM 15) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2016 (was 77)
Gary S. Paxton died in Branson, Missouri (unknown cause), 2016 (was 77)

July 17:

Elizabeth Cook born in Wildwood, Florida, 1972 (now 45)

Woodrow Wilson "Red" Sovine born in Charleston, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1980)
Harry Choates died in Austin, Texas (head injury, possibly self-inflicted), 1951 (was 29)
Dizzy Dean died in Reno, Nevada (heart attack), 1974 (was 63). Dizzy was credited with giving Roy Acuff the nickname "King of Country Music."
Don Rich died in Bakersfield, California (motorcycle accident), 1974 (was 32)
Wynn Stewart died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1985 (was 51)
Ozark Jubilee debuted on KWTO radio, 1954

July 18:


Ricky Skaggs born in Cordell, Kentucky, 1954 (now 63)
Mark Jones of Exile born in Harlan, Kentucky, 1954 (now 63)

Barney Alvin Kalanikau Isaacs, Jr. (StG 99) born in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1926 (died 1996)

July 19:
Sue Thompson born in Nevada, Missouri, 1926 (now 91)
Bernie Leadon of the Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Run C&W born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1947 (now 70)
George Hamilton IV born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1937 (died 2014)
William "Lefty" Frizzell (CM 82, NS 72) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1975 (was 47)
George Riddle died in Indianapolis, Indiana (throat cancer), 2014 (was 78)

July 20:


Thomas "Sleepy" LaBeef born in Smackover, Arkansas, 1935 (now 82)
T.G. Sheppard born in Humbolt, Tennessee, 1942 (now 75)
Radney Foster born in Del Rio, Texas, 1959 (now 58)
Joseph Emmett "J.E." Mainer born in Weaverville, North Carolina, 1898 (died 1971)
Cindy Walker (CM 97, NS 70) born near Mart, Texas, 1918 (died 2006)

Velma Smith born in Eppley Station, Kentucky, 1927 (died 2014)
Ralph Rinzler (BG 12) born in Passaic, New Jersey, 1934 (died 1994)
Wayne Carson (NS 97) died in Nashville, Tennessee (long illness), 2015 (was 72)

July 21:


Bobby Hicks (BG 17) born in Newton, North Carolina, 1933 (now 84).  The legendary fiddler is one of the new inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.

Sara Carter of the Carter Family (CM 70, BG 01) born in Wise County, Virginia, 1899 (died 1979)
Eddie Hill (DJ 75) born in Delano, Tennessee, 1921 (died 1994)
Hal Rugg (StG 89) born in New York, New York, 1936 (died 2005)

July 22:

Don Henley of the Eagles born in Gilmer, Texas, 1947 (now 70). In addition to the Eagles, Henley was in a band, Shiloh, in the late 60s with Richard Bowden (later of Pinkard and Bowden) and Jim Ed Norman.
Margaret Whiting born in Detroit, Michigan, 1924 (died 2011). Although primarily a pop singer, Whiting had a series of duets with Jimmy Wakely in the 40s and 50s.
Bob Ferguson died in Jackson, Mississippi (cancer), 2001 (was 73)
Jack Lynn, son of Loretta Lynn, died in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee (drowned), 1984 (was 34)
Ralph S. Peer arrived in Bristol to make recordings for RCA, 1927

July 23:


Alison Krauss born in Decatur, Illinois, 1971 (now 46)
Johnny Darrell born in Hopewell, Alabama, 1940 (died 1997)

Patsy Stoneman died in Manchester, Tennessee (natural causes), 2015 (was 90)

July 24:


Donald "Red" Blanchard of the WLS National Barn Dance born in Pittsville, Wisconsin, 1914 (died 1980)
Lawton Williams born in Troy, Tennessee, 1922 (died 2007)
Max D. Barnes (NS 92) born in Hardscratch, Iowa, 1936 (died 2004)

Freddie Tavares (StG 95) died in Anaheim, California (unknown cause), 1990 (was 77)

July 25:


Marty Brown born in Maceo, Kentucky, 1965 (now 52)
Walter Brennan born in Swmapscott, Massachusetts, 1894 (died 1974). The actor had a major country hit with "Old Rivers" in 1962.

Roy Acuff Jr. born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1943 (died 2015)
Steve Goodman born in Chicago, Illinois, 1948 (died 1984)
Tommy Duncan died in San Diego, California (heart attack), 1967 (was 56)
Charlie Rich died in Hammond, Louisiana (blood clot in lung), 1995 (was 62)

July 26:


Fred Foster
 (CM 16) born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, 1931 (now 86)

Jim Foglesong (CM 04) born in Lundale, West Virginia, 1922 (died 2013)

July 27:


Bobbie Gentry born in Chickasaw, Mississippi, 1944 (now 73)

Bill Engvall born in Galveston, Texas, 1957 (now 60)
Henry "Homer" Haynes (CM 01) born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1971)
Jack Davis died in St. Simon Island, Georgie (stroke), 2016 (was 91).  Davis, a cartoonist for Mad Magazine, designed the covers for numerous albums by Ben Colder, Johnny Cash, and Homer & Jethro.

July 28:


Frank Loesser died in New York, New York (lung cancer), 1969 (was 59). The legendary pop composer was the "victim" of Homer and Jethro's first major hit, "Baby, It's Cold Outside," in 1949 (which featured a young June Carter singing the female part). Although RCA officials worried about Loesser's reaction, Loesser loved the parody and only asked that the songwriter credit read, "With apologies to Frank Loesser."  Loesser later wrote the liner notes for the Homer & Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser EP.

July 29:


Martina McBride born in Sharon, Kansas, 1966 (now 51)
Pete Drake (StG 87) died in Brentwood, Tennessee (lung disease), 1988 (was 55)
Anita Carter died in Goodlettesville, Tennessee (illness), 1999 (was 66)

Buddy Emmons (StG 81) died in Hermitage, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2015 (was 78)

July 30:


Dennis Morgan (NS 04) born in Tracy, Minnesota, 1952 (now 65)

Sam Phillips (CM 01) died in Memphis, Tennessee (respiratory failure), 2003 (was 80)
Lynn Anderson died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2015 (was 67)

July 31:


Bonnie Brown
 of the Browns (CM 15) born in Sparkman, Arkansas, 1937 (died 2016)
Jim Reeves (CM 67) died in Nashville, Tennessee (plane crash), 1964 (was 40)
Dean Manuel died in Nashville, Tennessee (plane crash), 1964 (was 30)

Velma Smith died in Madison, Tennessee (illness), 2014 (was 87)

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 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=Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; STG=Steel Guitar; RR=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

July 1:

John Lair born in Livingston, Kentucky, 1894 (died 1985). Lair, a one-time announcer on the WLS National Barn Dance, founded the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in 1937.
Thomas A. Dorsey (NS 79) born in Villa Rica, Georgia, 1899 (died 1993)
Alvino Ray (StG 78) born in Oakland, California, 1908 (died 2004)
Charles "Everett" Lilly (BG 02) born in Clear Creek, West Virginia, 1924 (died 2012)
Keith Whitley born in Sandy Hook, Kentucky, 1955 (died 1989)
Charles Carr died in Montgomery, Alabama (brief illness), 2013 (was 79).  As a 19-year-old college student, Carr was Hank Williams' chauffeur on the fateful trip from Alabama to Akron, Ohio New Year's Eve 1952. 
Red Lane (NS 93) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2015 (was 76)

July 2:

Ken Curtis (one-time member of Sons of the Pioneers as well as Gunsmoke actor) born in Lamar, Colorado, 1916 (died 1991)
Fred Maddox of the Maddox Brothers born in Boaz, Alabama, 1919 (died 1992)
Marvin Rainwater born in Wichita, Kansas, 1925 (died 2013)
DeFord Bailey (CM 05) died in Nashville, Tennessee (kidney and heart failure), 1982 (was 82)
Elwood Goins of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) died in Pikeville, Kentucky (long-term illness), 2007 (was 71)
Ralph Rinzler (BG 12) died in Washington, DC (long-term illness), 1994 (was 59)
Jim Reeves' final RCA recording session, 1964

July 3:

Johnny Lee born in Texas City, Texas, 1946 (now 71)
Aaron Tippin born in Pensacola, Florida, 1958 (now 59)
Johnny Russell (NS 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of diabetes), 2001 (was 61)
Homer L. "Boots" Randolph died in Nashville, Tennessee (subdural hematoma), 2007 (was 80)

July 4:

Ray Pillow born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1937 (now 80)
Peter Rowan born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1942 (now 75)
Stephen Collins Foster (NS 10) born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, 1826 (died 1864)
Charlie Monroe born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1903 (died 1975)
Marion Worth born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1930 (died 1999)
Bill Vernon (BG 04) born in New York, New York, 1937 (died 1996)
Big Al Downing died in Leicester, Massachusetts (leukemia), 2005 (was 65)

July 5:

James "Guy" Willis of the Willis Brothers born in Alex, Arkansas, 1915 (died 1981)
Mitch Jayne (BG 09) born in Hammond, Indiana, 1928 (died 2010)
The Grand Ole Opry's first show at the War Memorial Auditorium, 1939

July 6:

Jeannie Seely born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1940 (now 77)
Nancy Griffith born in Austin, Texas, 1953 (now 64)
Justin Trevino born in Brownsville, Texas, 1973 (now 44)
Roy Rogers (CM 80; CM 88) died in Apple Valley, California (heart failure), 1998 (was 86)

July 7:

Randy Goodrum (NS 00) born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1947 (now 70)
John "Lonzo" Sullivan born in Edmonton, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1967)
Charlie Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) born in Section, Alabama, 1927 (died 2011)
Wallace Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincolnton, Georgia, 1928 (died 2007)
Doyle Wilburn born in Hardy, Arkansas, 1930 (died 1982)
George Morgan (CM 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of heart bypass surgery), 1975 (was 50)
Bill Porter died in St. Louis, Missouri (Alzheimer's disease), 2011 (was 79)
Lois Johnson died in Nashville, Tennessee (long illness), 2014 (was 72)

July 8:

Alice Gerrard (BG 17) born in Seattle, Washington, 1934 (now 83).  Gerrard is one of the new inductees into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, with Hazel Dickens.
Toby Keith born in Clinton, Oklahoma, 1961 (now 56)
Louis Jordan (a jazz artist who had two country #1 hits in 1944) born in Brinkley, Arkansas, 1908 (died 1975)
Ervin Rouse died (complications from diabetes), 1981 (was 64)
Kenny Baker (BG 99) died in Gallatin, Tennessee (stroke), 2011 (was 85)
Marty Stuart married Connie Smith, 1997

July 9:

Jesse McReynolds (BG 93) born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1929 (now 88)
David Ball born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, 1953 (now 64)
Eddie Dean born in Posey, Texas, 1907 (died 1999)
Molly O'Day born in Pike County, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1987)
Jim Fogelsong (CM 04) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2013 (was 90)
The Country Music Association announced the largest Country Music Hall of Fame induction class ever -- a total of 12 inductees (Bill Anderson, Delmore Brothers, Everly Brothers, Don Gibson, Homer & Jethro, Waylon Jennings, Jordanaires, Don Law, Louvin Brothers, Ken Nelson, Webb Pierce, and Sam Phillips) -- to coincide with the opening of the new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 2001

July 10:

Randall E. "Hawk" Shaw Wilson of BR5-49 born in Topeka, Kansas, 1960 (now 57)

July 11:

Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Detroit, Michigan, 1947 (now 70)
Eddie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) died in Gilbert Creek, West Virginia (unknown cause), 1984 (was 77)

July 12:

Steve Young born in Newman, Georgia, 1942 (died 2016)
Jimmie Driftwood died in Fayetteville, Arkansas (heart attack), 1998 (was 91)

July 13:

Louise Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1954 (now 63)
Rhonda Vincent born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1962 (now 55)
Bradley Kincaid (NS 71) born in Level, Kentucky, 1895 (died 1989)
Tim Spencer (CM 80, NS 71) born in Webb City, Missouri, 1908 (died 1974)
Riley Puckett died in East Point, Georgia (blood poisoning), 1946 (was 62)

July 14:

Rory Michael Brook (NS 89) born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1942 (now 75)
William J. "Billy" Hill (NS 82) born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1899 (died 1940)
Woody Guthrie (NS 77) born in Okemah, Oklahoma, 1912 (died 1967)
Marijohn Wilkin (NS 75) born in Kemp, Texas, 1920 (died 2006)
Del Reeves born in Sparta, North Carolina, 1933 (died 2007)

July 15:

Linda Ronstadt born in Tucson, Arizona, 1946 (now 71)
Mac McAnally (NS 07) born in Red Bay, Alabama, 1957 (now 59)
Lloyd "Cowboy" Copas born in Adams County, Ohio, 1913 (died 1963)
Johnny Seay born in Gulfport, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2016)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2010 (was 74)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dates of Note in Country Music, June 16-30

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=Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement; RR=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


June 16:

Billy "Crash" Craddock born in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1946 (now 71)
Bob Nolan  (CM 80, NS 71) died in Newport Beach, California (heart attack), 1980 (was 72)
"Orange Blossom Special" recorded by the Rouse Brothers, 1939. Ervin Rouse co-wrote the legendary fiddle tune with Chubby Wise.

June 17:

Clyde "Red" Foley (CM 67) born in Blue Lick, Kentucky, 1910 (died 1968)
Dave Akeman (Stringbean) born in Annville, Kentucky, 1916 (died 1973)

Dolores Dinning Edgin died in Springfield, Tennessee (natural causes), 2015 (was 86)
Minnie Pearl suffered a stroke that ended her career, 1991
Ground breaking ceremonies held for the new Country Music Hall of Fame, 1999. Your blogger was a member of the "All-Guitar Marching Band," fronted by Chet Atkins, that led the Hall of Fame members to the site.

June 18:

Sir Paul McCartney born in Liverpool, England, 1942 (now 75). The legendary Beatle hit the country chart in 1974 with "Sally G." He was also introduced to a Friday Night Opry audience in 1974 by Roy Acuff, where McCartney proclaimed Nashville the "music capital of the universe."
Marty Haggard born in Bakersfield, California, 1958 (now 59)

Zeke Turner born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1923 (died 2003)
A.P. Carter married Sara Dougherty, 1915

June 19:

Glen Allred of the Florida Boys (SG 01) born in Monroe, Tennessee, 1934 (now 83)

Doug Stone born in Marietta, Georgia, 1956 (now 61)
Howard Dixon of the Dixon Brothers born in Darlington, South Carolina, 1903 (died 1951)
Lester Flatt (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) born in Sparta, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1979)
Pat Buttram born in Addison, Alabama, 1915 (died 1994)
Bobby Helms died in Martinsville, Indiana (emphysema), 1997 (was 63)

Slim Whitman died in Orange Park, Florida (heart failure), 2013 (was 90)
Chet Flippo died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2013 (was 69)

June 20:

Anne Murray (Canadian Music 93) born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, 1945 (now 72)
Evelyn Mae Cox of the Cox Family born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1959 (now 58)
Jimmie Driftwood (ne James Corbitt Morris) born in Mountain View, Arkansas, 1907 (died 1998)
T. Texas Tyler born in Mena, Arkansas, 1916 (died 1972)

Pauline "Mom" Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Washington, Georgia, 1920 (died 2003)
Chet Atkins (CM 73, RR 02, GLA 93) born in Luttrell, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2001)
Ira Louvin (CM 01, NS 79, GLA 15) died near Williamsburg, Missouri (car wreck), 1965 (was 41)
Benjamin "Whitey" Ford, the "Duke of Paducah" (CM 86), died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1986 (was 85)

June 21:

Eddie Adcock (BG 96) born in Scottsville, Virginia, 1938 (now 79)
Leon Everette born in Aiken, South Carolina, 1948 (now 69)
Kathy Mattea born in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, 1959 (now 58)
Porter Howell of Little Texas born in Longview, Texas, 1964 (now 53)

Charlie Lamb born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1921 (died 2012)
Jimmy C. Newman died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2014 (was 86)

June 22:


Kris Kristofferson (CM 04, NS 77, GLA 14) born in Brownsville, Texas, 1936 (now 81)

Peter Asher born in Williesden, Middlesex, England, 1944 (now 73). The former half of the pop duo Peter and Gordon was the producer of most of Linda Ronstadt's crossover hits.
Roy Drusky born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1930 (died 2004)
Elton Britt died in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania (heart attack), 1972 (was 58)

June 23:

Dallas Wayne born in Springfield, Missouri, 1956 (now 61)

Zeb Turner born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1915 (died 1978)
June Carter Cash born in Maces Springs, Virginia, 1929 (died 2003)

Dr. Ralph Stanley (BG 92) died in Coeburn, Virginia (skin cancer), 2016 (was 89)

June 24:

Johnnie Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1989)
Foy Willing of Riders of the Purple Sage died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1978 (was 63)
Tim Krekel died in Louisville, Kentucky (stomach cancer), 2009 (was 57)

June 25:

Jenifer Strait, daughter of George Strait, died in San Marcos, Texas (car wreck), 1986 (was 13)
Boudleaux Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) died in Knoxville, Tennessee (cancer), 1987 (was 67)
Lew DeWitt retired from the Statler Brothers because of health issues, 1982
Billboard magazine renames the "Hillbilly" music chart the "Country and Western" chart, 1949

June 26:

Gretchen Wilson born in Granite City, Illinois, 1973 (now 44)

Colonel Tom Parker born in Breda, Netherlands, 1909 (died 1997). Before Elvis, Colonel Tom managed Hank Snow, Eddy Arnold, and Minnie Pearl.
Doc Williams born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1914 (died 2011)
Kenny Baker (BG 99) born in Jenkins, Kentucky, 1926 (died 2011)
Charlie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) born in Gilbert Creek, Virginia, 1931 (died 2004)
Vernon Presley died in Memphis, Tennessee (heart failure), 1979 (was 63)
Elvis Presley's final concert, at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, 1977

June 27:
Lorrie Morgan born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1959 (now 58)
Elton Britt born in Marshall, Arkansas, 1913 (died 1972)
Rosalie Allen born in Old Forge, Pennsylavania, 1924 (died 2003)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1999)
Joe Maphis died near Los Angeles, California (lung cancer), 1986 (was 65)
Bob Keeshan born in Lynbrook, New York, 1927 (died 2004). The Statler Brothers referenced Keeshan's best-known character in their hit "Flowers on the Wall:" "Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo."

Susanna Clark died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2012 (was 73)

June 28:

George Morgan (CM 98) born in Waverly, Tennessee, 1924 (died 1975)
Bobby Caldwell (StG 10) born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1941 (died 2009)
The WWVA Wheeling Jamboree began, 1940

June 29:

T. Tommy Cutrer (DJ 80) born in Osyka, Mississippi, 1924 (died 1998)
Frank Loesser born in New York City, 1910 (died 1969). The legendary pop songwriter was the first "victim" of a Homer & Jethro parody in 1949, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." After Homer & Jethro recorded seven more parodies of Loesser compositions for an EP (Homer & Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser), Loesser, a fan of the pair, wrote the liner notes.
Rosemary Clooney died in Beverly Hills, California (lung cancer), 2002 (was 74).  The pop singer worked on WLW with many country singers and recorded a cover of the Carl Smith hit "If Teardrops Were Pennies."

June 30:

Dwayne O'Brien of Little Texas born in Ada, Oklahoma, 1963 (now 54)
Doyle Holly born in Perkins, Oklahoma, 1936 (died 2007)
R.W. Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 33)
Bill Lyles of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 34)
Chet Atkins (CM 73, RR 02, GLA 93) died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2001 (was 77)