August 16 – This Day in Country Music

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1939
Born on this day in Corsicana, Texas, was Billy Joe Shaver, country music singer and songwriter. Shaver’s 1973 album Old Five and Dimers Like Me is a classic in the outlaw country genre. Shaver’s 2007 album country gospel style Everybody’s Brother was Grammy nominated. Many of the songs are duets with artists such as Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Tanya Tucker.

1961
Patsy Cline recorded “Crazy”. The ballad composed by Willie Nelson became one of her signature tunes and gave Cline a #2 country hit in 1962. Nelson originally wrote the song for country singer Billy Walker, but Walker turned it down. The song’s eventual success helped launch Nelson as a performer as well as a songwriter.

1969
Merle Haggard’s “Workin’ Man Blues” was at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart. The song is Haggard’s tribute to a core group of his fans: The American blue-collared working man.

1972
Born on this day in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was Emily Robinson, singer-songwriter, with the Dixie Chicks. Of the Dixie Chicks’ twenty-five singles, six have reached #1 on the Billboard country singles chart: “There’s Your Trouble”, “Wide Open Spaces”, “You Were Mine”, “Cowboy Take Me Away”, “Without You”, and “Travelin’ Soldier”.

1972
Tammy Wynette’s released what would become her twentieth hit on the country charts “My Man (Understands)”. The single written by Billy Sherrill, Norro Wilson, and Carmol Taylor peaked at #1.

1976
Dolly Parton released her seventeenth solo studio album All I Can Do. The album which peaked at #3 on the US Billboard Hot Country Albums chart includes two covers; Emmylou Harris’ “Boulder to Birmingham” and Merle Haggard’s “Life’s Like Poetry”.

1977
Elvis Presley was found dead lying on the floor in his bathroom by his girlfriend Ginger Alden; he had been seated on the toilet reading The Scientific Search For Jesus. He died of heart failure at the age of 42. The most significant pop artist of the 20th century, the beginning and end of his career are grounded in country. He entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

2005
Brad Paisley released his fourth studio album Time Well Wasted which became his second #1 on the US Country chart and the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year for 2006. The album produced the singles “Alcohol”, “When I Get Where I’m Going”, “The World”, and “She’s Everything”. “Alcohol” was a #4 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, while the other three singles were all #1’s.