April 30 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day in Los Angeles, California, was Johnny Horton, most famous for his semi-folk, so-called “saga songs” which began the “historical ballad” craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s. With them, he had several major successes, most notably during 1959 with the song “The Battle of New Orleans” (written by Jimmy Driftwood) which was awarded the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. Horton was killed in a car crash near Milano, Texas involving a truck on November 5, 1960.

Glen Campbell went to #1 on the US singles chart with “Southern Nights”, (a song written by Allen Toussaint), and Campbell’s second US chart topper.

Winners at the 16th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards hosted by Larry Gatlin, Tammy Wynette and Con Meredith at the Shrine Auditorium, Hollywood included: Top Female Vocalist of the Year – Dolly Parton, Top Male Vocalist of the Year – George Jones, Top Vocal Group – Alabama, Top New Female Vocalist of the Year – Terri Gibbs and Top New Male Vocalist of the Year went to Johnny Lee.

Capitol Nashville released “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. The song, written by Brooks’ friend, Tony Arata, was a key track on his self-titled debut album Garth Brooks and became #1 chart hit. It is considered by many to be Brooks’ signature song. “The Dance” won both Song of the Year and Video of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.