October 23 – This Day in Country Music


Bill Monroe auditioned for the Grand Ole Opry at the WSM Radio studios in Nashville, performing “Foggy Mountain Top,” “Mule Skinner Blues” and “Fire On The Mountain.” He passed the audition and made his debut five days later.

Born on this day in Pikeville, Kentucky, was Dwight Yoakam. The country singer, actor and film director, who is most famous for his pioneering country music has sold over 25 million records with 5 Billboard # 1 Albums, 12 Gold Albums, and 9 Platinum Albums. Yoakam is the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show and has also starred in many films, most notably in critically acclaimed performances as an ill-tempered, abusive, live-in boyfriend in Sling Blade.

Glen Campbell recorded his version of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California. The song which was written by Jimmy Webb was originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965. Campbell’s version reached #2 on the Hot Country charts and and won two awards at the 10th Annual Grammys.

Linda Ronstadt was at #1 on the Country music album chart with the Grammy Award winning Hasten Down the Wind. Her third straight million-selling album made Ronstadt the first female artist in history to accomplish this feat.

American country musician Maybelle Carter died aged 69. She is best known as a member of the historic Carter Family act in the 1920s and ’30s and also as a member of Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. Maybelle Carter was inducted as part of The Carter Family in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970. In 1993, her image appeared on a US postage stamp honoring the Carter Family.

The American dramatic musical western film Pure Country was released. Directed by Christopher Cain, The film stars George Strait in his acting debut with Lesley Ann Warren, Isabel Glasser and Kyle Chandler. The soundtrack was a critical success and to date is Strait’s best selling album.

More than 100,000 copies of John Denver’s catalog of albums were sold in the week after the singer was killed in an Oct. 12 plane crash off the California coast. SoundScan reported that four of Denver’s albums were among the nation’s top 200 bestsellers last week and that 10 were among the top 75 sellers among country albums.

Carrie Underwood released her second studio album Carnival Ride. It was the singer’s first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 and second to debut atop the Top Country Albums chart. The album was certified quadruple platinum, it has sold 3.4 million copies in the United States, and four million copies worldwide. The four singles “So Small”, “All-American Girl”, “Last Name”, “Just a Dream”, reached #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, thus making Underwood the first solo female artist to pull four #1’s from one album since Shania Twain in 1995-1996.