April 23 – This Day in Country Music

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1936
Born on this day, was Roy Orbison, singer, songwriter, who had a 1964 UK & US #1 single with “Pretty Woman” plus over 20 US & 30 UK Top 40 singles. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country and western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. As a member of Traveling Wilburys, he had a 1988 UK #21 single with “Handle With Care”. Orbison died on December 6th 1988.

1972
Jerry Lee Lewis was at #1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart with “Chantilly Lace.” Written by Jerry Foster, Bill Rice, and The Big Bopper, who released the song in 1958, the song depicts one side of a flirting telephone conversation, with a young man talking about what he likes about his girlfriend.

1981
George Strait released what would become his first major hit “Unwound” the lead-off single from his debut album Strait Country when it peaked at #6 on the United States Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Dean Dillon and Frank Dycus originally wrote the song for Johnny Paycheck, but, Paycheck was in jail at the time.

1996
George Strait released his sixteenth studio album Blue Clear Sky which became his tenth US Country #1. The album produced four singles. The title track, “Carried Away”, “I Can Still Make Cheyenne”, and “King of the Mountain”.

1997
Winners at the 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards included: Top Female Vocalist of the Year – Patty Loveless, Top Male Vocalist of the Year – George Strait, Top Vocal Group – Sawyer Brown, Top New Female Vocalist of the Year – LeAnn Rimes, Top New Male Vocalist of the Year – Trace Adkins and Song of the Year went to LeAnn Rimes for “Blue.”

2002
Kenny Chesney released No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems which became his first US Country #1 album. It produced five singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart between 2001 and 2003. In 2004, the album was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over four million copies in the United States.