January 17 – This Day in Country Music


Red Foley became the first country performer to record in Nashville, Tennessee. During the session at WSM-AM’s Studio B, he recorded “Tennessee Saturday Night”, “Blues in the Heart” and “Tennessee Border”.

Born on this day, at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, was Steve Earle, singer, songwriter. His song “Mustang Wine” was due to be recorded by Elvis Presley in 1975, but Presley did not turn up for the recording session and was later released as a single by Carl Perkins. His gritty 1986 album Guitar Town album became an influential signpost for the alt-country movement. Earle has been married seven times, including twice to the same woman.

Eddie Rabbitt was at #1 on the US Country chart with “I Love A Rainy Night.” According to Rabbit, the song was 12 years in the making. Rabbitt had a collection of old tapes he kept in the basement of his home. While rummaging through the tapes one day in 1980, he heard a fragment of a song he had recorded one rainy night in the late 1960s. The song succeeded Dolly Parton’s song “9 To 5” at the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart – the last time, to date, that pop chart featured back-to-back country singles in the #1 position.

Reba McEntire became a member of the Grand Ole Opry show in Nashville, Tennessee, and has been a member ever since.

Garth Brooks was named Artist of the Decade for the ’90s during the American Music Awards at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium. He also won awards for Favorite Male Country Artist and Favorite Country Album, for Sevens.

Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson embarked on the co-headlining 2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour, which began in Dayton, Ohio. The 39 date tour featured the two singers sharing the same band and stage and performing each other’s songs.

Kenny Chesney announced that he had left Sony Music Nashville after 23 years and had subsequently signed with Warner Bros. Records Nashville. Chesney had recorded 20 albums, 20 of which had been certified Gold or higher by the RIAA. He had also produced more than 40 Top 10 singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, 30 of which had reached #1.