Monday, January 15, 2018

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 75)
Jim Stafford born in Eloise, Florida, 1944 (now 74)
Sandy Pinkard of Pinkard & Bowden born in Abbeville, Louisiana, 1947 (now 71)

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 63)

Amanda Wilkinson of the Wilkinsons born in Belleville, Ontario, 1982 (now 36)
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 80)
Mark Collie born in Waynesboro, Tennessee, 1956 (now 62)

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 85)
Dolly Parton (CM 99, NS 86; GLA 11) born in Locast Ridge, Tennessee, 1946 (now 72)
Stephanie Davis born in Bridger, Montana, 1958 (now 60)
Dennie Crouch of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Strawberry, Arkansas, 1967 (now 41)
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 53)

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 76)
Jim Ibbottson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1947 (now 71)

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 69)

Teddy Gentry (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1952 (now 66)
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 56)
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 82)
Jack Scott born in Windsor, Ontario, 1936 (now 82)
Ray Stevens (NS 80) born in Clarksdale, Georgia, 1939 (now 79)
Becky Hobbs born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1950 (now 68)
Keech Rainwater of Lonestar born in Plano, Texas, 1963 (now 55)

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 86)
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 76)
Lucinda Williams born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, 1953 (now 65)

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 65)
Cheryl White of the Whites born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1955 (now 63)
Richard Young of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Glasgow, Kentucky, 1955 (now 63)
Tracy Lawrence born in Atlanta, Texas, 1968 (now 50)
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 53)
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 74)
Irlene Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1957 (now 61)

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 81)
Norma Jean ("Pretty Miss Norma Jean") born in Wellston, Oklahoma, 1938 (now 80)
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)

Friday, January 12, 2018

"He Helped Everybody"


Category: Obituaries

The new year has proved very painful for the Country Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, losing two members in the past two weeks.

Hairl Hensley: the "dean of Grand Ole Opry announcers" died on December 31.  He was an Opry announcer for 35 years, second in tenure only to the great Grant Turner.  In addition to his work on the Opry, he also was a beloved DJ on WSM, broadcasting both country and bluegrass shows.  For years he hosted a 15-minute morning program called "The Early Bird Gets the Bluegrass" at 5 AM, as well as a Monday night bluegrass/interview show.

Hensley had a marvelous sense of humor.  I remember hearing him play Tom T. Hall's "Ravishing Ruby" one night; and, when the trumpet part came in during the chorus of the song, Hairl slipped in a trumpet playing the "charge!" call over it.  But that wasn't his best gag, and I would be remiss if I didn't tell my favorite Hairl Hensley story.  

Massey-Ferguson Tractors sponsored a portion of the Opry at one time.  Hensley took the script book and did a little "alteration" of the script for the Massey-Ferguson ad:  he crossed out "Massey-Ferguson" and wrote, in its place, "M.F."  If you think that sounds funny, you should have heard Eddie Stubbs read it that way one night:  "These M.F. tractors are the best you can buy."  

Aside from the jokes, he was a great DJ with a vast knowledge of country and bluegrass, and he genuinely loved the music he played.

Hairl Hensley was 81.

Tom Perryman:  from humble beginnings in eastern Texas, Tom Perryman moved up to become one of the most important DJs in the 40s and 50s.  He had a keen ear for good music and went out of his way to help up-and-coming acts of the day, such as Jim Reeves and Ray Price, get their music played on radio. 

Perryman died January 11th after years of failing health.  

In addition to his eagerness to turn a song he believed in into a hit, Perryman was also a good businessman.  After Jim Reeves found success he and Perryman became business partners, buying radio stations in eastern Texas (including the one where Reeves got his start, KGRI in Henderson, Texas).  

In the foreword to Perryman's biography, Keepin' It Country, Ray Price explained his long friendship with Perryman and how the DJ worked tirelessly to get country stars' songs the exposure they deserved.  Price summarized Perryman's commitment simply:  "He helped everybody."

Tom Perryman was 90.

Farewell to these two giants of country music broadcasting.

Monday, January 01, 2018

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 (NS 16) 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 92)
Dick Feller born in Bronaugh, Missouri, 1943 (now 75)
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 49)

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)
Sam Lovullo died in Encino, California (natural causes), 2017 (was 88)
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 63)
Kathy Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1955 (now 63)
Patty Loveless born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 1957 (now 61)
Deana Carter born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1966 (now 52)

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 68)
Iris DeMent born in Paragould, Arkansas, 1961 (now 57)

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 69)
Jett Williams born in Montgomery, Alabama, 1953 (now 65)
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 75)
Marshall Chapman born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1949 (now 69)
David Lee Murphy born in Herrin, Illinois, 1959 (now 59)
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 78)

Holly Tashian born in New York, New York, 1946 (now 72)
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 75)
Crystal Gayle born in Paintsville, Kentucky, 1951 (now 67)
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 72)
Robert Earl Keen born in Houston, Texas, 1956 (now 62)

Kelly Hogan born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1965 (now 52)
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)
Tommy Allsup died in Springfield, Missouri (complications from hernia surgery), 2017 (was 85)
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 79)
Ricky Van Shelton born in Danville, Virginia, 1952 (now 66)
LaWanda Lindsey born in Tampa, Florida, 1953 (now 65)
Claudia Church Crowell born in Lenoir, North Carolina, 1962 (now 56)

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 56)

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 70).  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:

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)
Peter Kuykendall (BG 96) born in Wasington, DC, 1938 (died 2017)
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)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Country Music's Final Bows of 2017

Category: Tribute

Here are the people from the world of country and bluegrass who sang their final song in 2017.

Tommy Allsup (January 11, complications from hernia surgery, age 85): album producer, western swing performer, and session guitarist who lost his seat on the ill-fated Buddy Holly plane in February 1959.

Chuck Berry (March 17, heart attack, age 90):  rock and roll's daddy had a major impact on country music as well, with enough Chuck Berry-penned tunes becoming country hits to warrant his induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Billy Joe Burnette (December 29, 2016, heart attack, age 76): rockabilly singer-songwriter who wrote the Red Sovine cross-over tear-jerker "Teddy Bear."

Dr. Benjamin H. Caldwell Jr. (May 8, long illness, age 82): a Nashville physician who did country music a gigantic favor in the 1970s by spearheading a movement to save the Ryman Auditorium from demolition. 

Glen Campbell (August 8, Alzheimer's disease, age 81): session guitarist and one-time Beach Boy who became a massive success in country and pop, earning his way into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  His poignant farewell albums and public battle with Alzheimer's put a familiar face on the dreaded disease.

Steve Chapman (July 29, unknown cause, age 74): guitarist who worked with Ernest Tubb, Bill Anderson, and Mandy Barnett.

Dave Evans (June 26, long illness, age 66): bluegrass performer who worked with Larry Sparks and had his own band, Dave Evans & the River Bend.

Bob Forshee (May 11, unknown cause, age 80): country music songwriter who penned Darrell McCall's early hit "A Stranger Was Here" as well as songs recorded by Jimmy C. Newman, Jan Howard, and others.

Troy Gentry (September 8, helicopter crash, age 50): half of the 90s/00s superstar duo Montgomery Gentry.

Wendell Goodman (May 21, unknown cause, age 81): husband and manager of rockabilly and country legend Wanda Jackson.

Hairl Hensley (December 31, illness, unknown age): Country Music DJ Hall of Fame member who was the voice of the Grand Ole Opry and early-morning bluegrass music on WSM for decades.

Alan Jabbour (January 13, cancer, age 74): old-time fiddler who was the founding director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


Blake Johnson (June 4, heart attack, age 33): bluegrass musician who worked with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, James King, and others.

Michael Johnson (July 25, long illness, age 72): singer and songwriter who had country ("Give Me Wings," "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder") and pop ("This Night Won't Last Forever," "Bluer Than Blue") hits.

Danny Lee Jones (February 3, cancer, age 77): bluegrass musician who was a member of Bluegrass Alliance and the Bluegrass Generation, and worked with the Goins Brothers and Bill Monroe.

Rhubarb Jones (April 2, heart attack, age 65): Country Music DJ Hall of Fame member who also announced for the WWF.

Pete Kuykendall (August 24, long illness, age 79): bluegrass songwriter (under the pseudonym "Pete Roberts"), performer (as part of the Country Gentlemen), and promoter.  His love of bluegrass led to the founding of the premiere magazine for the genre, Bluegrass Unlimited. 

Sam Lovullo (January 3, natural causes, age 88): the producer of the long-running country comedy variety series Hee Haw.

Geoff Mack (July 21, natural causes, age 94): Australian country singer/songwriter whose best-known song was "Americanized" into the huge Hank Snow hit "I've Been Everywhere."

Don Markham (February 24, long illness, age 85): "Here comes Don!" was Merle Haggard's typical introduction to the saxophonist who played with Haggard's band the Strangers after leaving Johnny Paycheck's band.

Grover "G.C." McCoury (February 27, stroke, age 87): the older brother of Del McCoury had his own regional bluegrass act, the McCoury Family.

Billy Mize (November 1, long illness, age 88): Bakersfield Sound singer and songwriter, best-known for writing the Charlie Walker hit "Who Will Buy the Wine."

Leon Rhodes (December 10, illness, age 85): one of the great guitarists in country music who made a huge mark on the sound of Ernest Tubb (remember Tubb's call of "and Leon!" in "Waltz Across Texas").

Kayton Roberts (July 13, stroke, age 83): Steel Guitar Hall of Fame member who played for years with Hank Snow.

Curly Seckler (December 27, natural causes, age 98): Bluegrass Hall of Fame member who was part of Charlie Monroe's Kentucky Partners, Flatt & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys and member of Flatt's "Nashville Grass."

Mark Selby (September 18, cancer, age 56): session musician (Kenny Rogers, Wynonna), singer, and songwriter (including the Grammy-winning "There's Your Trouble" by the Dixie Chicks).

Ben Speers (April 7, Alzheimer's disease, age 86): member of the legendary southern gospel group the Speers Family.

Billy Stewart (March 24, illness, age 85): the brother of Redd Stewart who served as fiddler for Little Jimmy Dickens, Lonzo & Oscar, and others on the Opry in the 1950s.

Tammy Sullivan (April 21, cancer, age 52): part of the bluegrass gospel band the Sullivan Family.

Mel Tillis (November 19, respiratory failure, age 85): Hall of Fame singer and songwriter with a career that spanned six decades.

Greg Trooper (January 15, pancreatic cancer, age 61): Americana singer/songwriter who had his songs covered by acts such as Steve Earle and Vince Gill.

Jo Walker-Meador (August 16, stroke, age 93): the longest-serving executive director of the Country Music Foundation, she was responsible for the expansion of the CMA, the Hall of Fame, and country music as an industry.

Don Warden (March 11, natural causes, age 87): Steel Guitar Hall of Fame member who played in Porter Wagoner's band and became Dolly Parton's manager beginning in 1967.

Don Williams (September 8, short illness, age 78): Country Music Hall of Fame singer and songwriter known as "the Gentle Giant" for his quiet baritone voice that delivered over 40 years' worth of love songs to the world.

Norro Wilson (June 8, illness, age 79): Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member who wrote songs ranging from "The Grand Tour" to "A Very Special Love Song."

Bob Wootton (April 9, unknown cause, age 75): longtime guitarist for Johnny Cash's "Tennessee Three" who joined the band after Luther Perkins' death.

Gil Wright (April 30, unknown cause, age 87):  member of the legendary background vocal group the Anita Kerr Singers. 

Joe Wright (January 3, unknown cause, age 79): the original lead guitarist for Marty Robbins' backing band, the Teardrops.

Farewell, and thank you for the music.


And finally, sadly: 

Hannah Ahlers, 34, Beaumont, CA 
Heather Alvarado, 35, Enoch, UT
Dorene Anderson, 49, Anchorage, AK
Carrie Barnette, 34, Garden Grove, CA
Jack Beaton, 54, Bakersfield, CA
Steve Berger, 44, Milwaukee, WI
Candice Bowers, 40, Garden Grove, CA
Denise Burditus, 50, Martinsburg, WV
Sandy Casey, 35, Redondo Beach, CA
Andrea Castilla, 28, Huntington Beach, CA 
Denise Cohen, 58, Carpinteria, CA
Austin Davis, 29, Riverside, CA
Thomas Day Jr., 54, Corona, CA
Christiana Duarte, 22, Torrance, CA
Stacee Etcheber, 50, Novato, CA
Brian Fraser, 39, Walnut, CA
Dana Gardner, 52, Grand Terrace, CA
Keri Galvan, 51, Thousand Oaks, CA
Angie Gomez, 20, Riverside, CA
Charleston Hartfield, 34, Las Vegas, NV
Christopher Hazencomb, 44, Camarillo, CA
Jennifer Irvine, 42, San Diego, CA
Nicol Kimura, 38, Placentia, CA
Jessica Klymchuk, 34, Valleyview, Alberta
Carly Kreibaum, 33, Sutherland, IA
Rhonda LeRocque, 42, Tewksbury, MA
Victor Link, 55, San Clemente, CA
Jordan McIldoon, 23, Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Kelsey Meadows, 28, Taft, CA
Calla Medig, 28, Jasper, Alberta
Sonny Melton, 29, Paris, TN
Pati Mestas, 67, Menifee, CA
Austin Meyer, 24, Reno, NV
Adrian Murfitt, 35, Anchorage, AK
Rachel Parker, 33, Manhattan Beach, CA
Jennifer Parks, 36, Lancaster, CA
Carrie Parsons, 31, Seattle, WA
Lisa Patterson, 46, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
John Phippen, 57, Valencia, CA
Melissa Ramirez, 26, Bakersfield, CA
Jordyn Rivera, 21, San Bernardino, CA
Quintin Robbins, 20, Henderson, NV
Cameron Robinson, 28, St. George, UT
Rocio Guillen Rocha, 40, Eastvale, CA
Lisa Romero-Muniz, 48, Gallup, NM
Christopher Roybal, 28, Denver, CO
Brett Schwanbeck, 61, Bullhead City, AZ
Bailey Schweitzer, 20, Bakersfield, CA
Laura Shipp, 50, Thousand Oaks, CA
Erick Silva, 21, Las Vegas, NV
Susan Smith, 53, Simi Valley, CA
Tara Roe Smith, 34, Okotoks, Alberta
Brennan Stewart, 30, Las Vegas, NV
Derrick "Bo" Taylor, 56, Oxnard, CA
Neysa Tonks, 46, Las Vegas, NV  
Michelle Vo, 32, Los Angeles, CA
Kurt Von Tillow, 55, Cameron Park, CA
Bill Wolfe, Jr., 42, Shippensburg, PA 

These fifty eight individuals were killed when a gunman opened fire on 22,000 fans at an outdoor country music concert headlined by Jason Aldean on October 1 in Las Vegas.  Additionally, 546 other concertgoers were injured.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

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 80)
Jeff Carson born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1964 (now 53)
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 86)
Sharon White Skaggs born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1953 (now 64) 
Tracy Byrd born in Vidor, Texas, 1966 (now 51)
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 53)
Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) (NS 71) born in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, 1904 (died 1996)
Gordie Tapp died in Burlington, Ontario (pneumonia), 2016 (was 94)
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 72)
Janie Fricke born in South Whitney, Indiana, 1947 (now 70)
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 91)
Lee Roy Parnell born in Abilene, Texas, 1956 (now 61)
Christy Forrester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1962 (now 55)
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 80)
Chuck Mead of BR5-49 born in Nevada, Missouri, 1960 (now 57)
Paul Martin of Exile born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1962 (now 55)
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 98)
Jimmy Buffett (NS 06) born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, 1946 (now 71)

Barbara Mandrell (CM 09, StG 09) born in Houston, Texas, 1948 (now 69)
Steve Wariner born in Noblesville, Indiana, 1954 (now 63)
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 79)
Bob Carpenter of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 71)

Travis Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Greenwood, South Carolina, 1958 (now 59)
Audrey Wiggins born in Asheville, North Carolina, 1967 (now 50)
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 93)
Les Taylor of Exile born in Oneida, Kentucky, 1948 (now 69)
Darrin Vincent of Dailey & Vincent born in Kirkville, Missouri, 1969 (now 48)

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 59)
Mike McGuire of Shenandoah born in Haleyville, Alabama, 1958 (now 59)
Marty Roe of Diamond Rio born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1960 (now 57)
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 95)
Ed Bruce born in Keiser, Arkansas, 1939 (now 78)

December 30:

Suzy Bogguss born in Aledo, Illinois, 1956 (now 61)
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 83)
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

Monday, December 04, 2017

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 53)
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)
Mark Gray died in Lebanon, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2016 (was 64) 
"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 63)
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 73)
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 70)
Ty England born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1963 (now 54)
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 76)
Bill Lloyd of Foster & Lloyd born in Ft. Hood, Texas, 1955 (now 62)
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 86)
Hugh X. Lewis born in Yeaddiss, Kentucky, 1932 (now 85)
Gary Morris born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1948 (now 69)
Ronnie Sessions born in Henrietta, Oklahoma, 1948 (now 69)
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 85)
David Kersh born in Humble, Texas, 1970 (now 47)
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 66)
Eddie Miller (NS 75) born in Camargo, Oklahoma, 1919 (died 1977)
Roy Ayers (StG 07) born in Columbus, Mississippi, 1929 (died 2012)
Jimmy Riddle died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1982 (was 64)
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)
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 73)
Charles Whitstein born in Colfax, Louisiana, 1945 (now 72)
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 66)
Shelton Hank Williams (Hank III) born in Houston, Texas, 1972 (now 45)
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 87)
Randy Owen of Alabama (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1949 (now 68)
John Anderson (NS 14) born in Orlando, Florida, 1954 (now 63)
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 57)
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