Ray Turner’s Day in Country Music History,
March 8th: On this day
“Only the Lonely” a song written by written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson gave country singer Sonny James a #1 hit on the Billboard country music charts.
Olivia Newton-John was at #1 on the US Country chart with Have You Never Been Mellow. The title track was also a US #1 single. Newton-John received a Grammynomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her work on the song “Have You Never Been Mellow.”
Stuart Hamblen who was one of American radio’s first singing cowboys died in Santa Monica. He wrote “This Ole House”, which has been covered by many artists including Rosemary Clooney, Jimmy Dean, Boxcar Willie, Bill Black, and UK singer Shakin’ Stevens.
The country music-themed quiz show Fandango aired for the first time on TNN.Hosted by singer Bill Anderson, it became one of the longest running game shows on a cable network, ending in 1989.
Garth Brooks was at #1 on the Country singles chart with “What She’s Doing Now”, the third single from his album, Ropin’ the Wind.
Hank Locklin died. A member of the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 50 years, Locklin had a long recording career and scored the hits, “Please Help Me, I’m Falling”, “Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On” and “Geisha Girl”.
The Outsiders the fourth studio album by Eric Church was at #1 on the Country chart. After the release of the album, Church urged fans not to shuffle the song list on their playlists, saying “Anybody puts it on shuffle, I”ll come kill them myself. It’s made to be listened to start to finish.
March 7th: On this day
Born on this day in Fort Worth, Texas, was Townes Van Zandt singer-songwriter. His music has been covered by such notable and varied musicians as Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Cowboy Junkies, Andrew Bird, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch. He died on January 1, 1997.
A song from the movie Deliverance called “Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel became one of the few 1970s instrumentals to be awarded a Gold record. The record had topped the Cash Box Magazine Best Sellers list and reached No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The film Coal Miner’s Daughter, the biography of Loretta Lynn and starring Sissy Spacek opened. Spacek won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Lynn; Tommy Lee Jones and Beverly D’Angelo also play leading roles in the film, which was a huge success with critics and at the box office.
The Nashville Network (TNN) was launched from the now-defunct Opryland USAtheme park near Nashville, Tennessee. Country Music Television (CMT), founded by Glenn D. Daniels, beat TNN’s launch by two days, robbing TNN of the claim of “first country music cable television network”.
Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski who became better known as Pee Wee King died of a heart attack in Louisville, Kentucky, aged 86. The American country music songwriter is best known for co-writing “The Tennessee Waltz”, which was a hit for both Cowboy Copas, Patti Page and Petula Clark.
Claude King, died of natural causes aged 90. The singer, songwriter is best known for his million selling 1962 hit “Wolverton Mountain” which was written together with Merle Kilgore and was based on a real character, Clifton Clowers, who lived on the mountain, north of Morrilton, Arkansas. The song spent nine weeks at the top of theBillboard country chart.
March 6th: On this day
Born on this day near near Kosse, Texas was James Robert Wills, better known as the American Western swing musician Bob Wills who is considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing. Wills who was also a member of The Texas Playboys died on May 13, 1975.
Born on this day in in Higley, Arizona was country singer-songwriter Red Simpson, best known for his trucker-themed songs. His first #1 hit was with “Sam’s Place,” recorded by Buck Owens. Simpson died on January 8, 2016.
Born on this day in Redlands, California, was Skip Ewing. Artists who have recorded Ewing’s songs include Conway Twitty, George Jones, Kenny Rogers, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Clint Black, Collin Raye, Diamond Rio, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis and Merle Haggard
Winners at the second Academy of Country Music Awards hosted by Lorne Green included: Top Female Vocalist of the Year, Bonnie Guitar, Top Male Vocalist of the Year, Merle Haggard, Top Vocal Group, Bonnie Owens and Merle Haggard, Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year Cathie Taylor, Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year, Billy Mize and Most Promising Vocal Group went to Bob Morris and Faye Hardin.
George Jones, in the midst of a comeback this year, was seriously injured when he crashed his Lexus into a bridge. It was later revealed that alcohol was a factor in the accident, and the singer pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges.
Singer Doug Supernaw was arrested in Bryan, Texas, and charged with public intoxication and fleeing from an officer. According to reports, the arrest came after Supernaw allegedly yelled obscenities and made obscene gestures while walking near an apartment complex. An off-duty police officer identified himself as he approached the singer and instructed Supernaw to sit on the curb while awaiting the arrival of another officer to arrest him. Before the patrol car arrived, Supernaw began walking away and then started running when the officer told him to stop.
During a US tour, Jerrod Niemann’s tour bus caught fire. He was unharmed and Niemann cridited fellow country singer Lee Brice for alerting him to the dangerous blaze giving him time to escape.
Stompin’ Tom Connors, died aged 77. The Canadian country singer from the 1970s, was best known for “The Hockey Song.”
A Nashville jury found bar owner Chris Ferrell guilty of second-degree murder after the 2013 shooting of Wayne Mills. The shooting occurred on the same night as a George Jones tribute concert at the nearby Bridgestone Arena, and as an after-party was wrapping up at the Pit and Barrel, a downtown saloon that had recently been made over for Spike TV’s reality series Bar Rescue. Ferrell claimed self-defense in the shooting, testifying he fired at Mills — the leader of the Wayne Mills Band — out of fear after the singer smashed a glass and threatened to kill the bar owner.