March 9th: On this day

Born on this day in Ferriday, Louisiana, was Mickey Gilley, American country music singer and musician and the cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl McVoy, Jim Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart. Among his biggest hits is “Room Full of Roses,” “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time,” and the remake of the Soul hit “Stand by Me”.

At the age of 84, comedian George Burns became the oldest performer to have a single in the top 40 of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart when “I Wish I Was 18 Again” peaked at #15.

Singer-songwriter (and rodeo champion), Chris Ledoux died. During his career LeDoux recorded 36 albums (many self-released) which have sold more than six million copies in the US. Ledoux was nominated for a Grammy Award and the Academy of Country Music -Music Pioneer Award.

Taylor Swift was at #1 on the US Country music album chart with her eponymous debut studio album, which topped the Country Albums Chart for twenty-four non-consecutive weeks.

The Barnstormer opened at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, The $5.5 million giant swing features two pendulum arms with seating for 32 riders. Seated back to back, riders travel progressively higher on each swing of the Barnstormer’s massive arms, reaching a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour and 230 degrees of rotation. At its peak, The Barnstormer reaches 89 feet (27 m) in the air, taking riders high above the barn’s rooftop and the area’s treetops.

Songwriter and recording artist Wayne Kemp, who penned hit tunes for George Strait, George Jones and Johnny Cash, among many others, died at Macon County General Hospital in Lafayette, Tennessee. He was suffering from multiple ailments and was on kidney dialysis when he passed away. Kemp was 74. One of his most well-known songs gave Johnny Cash his 1976 #1 hit “One Piece at a Time”.

Canadian country music singer and songwriter Ray Griff died aged 75. His songwritering credits reached over 2,500 songs, many of them were recorded by Nashville’s top recording artists including writting hit records for Faron Young, Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, Bob Luman, Gene Watson, and Johnny Duncan.

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