December 12 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day in Atlanta GA and raised in NC, was country music songwriter Byron Hill. Inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018, Hill wrote hits including “Fool Hearted Memory” for George Strait, “Pickin’ Up Strangers” for Johnny Lee, “Born Country” for Alabama, “Politics, Religion, And Her” for Sammy Kershaw, “Nothing On But The Radio” for Gary Allan, “High-Tech Redneck” for George Jones, “Alright Already” for Larry Stewart, “If I Was A Drinkin’ Man” for Neal McCoy, “Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous” for Tracy Byrd, and many others.

Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley all appeared at the National Guard Armory, Armory, Mississippi.

Merle Haggard released the single “The Fugitive” (later titled “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” on the album), which became Haggard’s first #1 hit on the country chart. Although not written by Haggard, the song became one of the most closely associated with the early part of his career, as it drew upon his then still-relatively recent prison term for burglary.

Waylon Jennings underwent triple bypass surgery at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital. The singer later said he had quit smoking five or six packs a day after being a smoker for 40 years.

Clint Black received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Faith Hill was at #1 on the Billboard Country charts with “Let Me Let Go”. The third single from Faith Hill’s album Faith, features background vocals by country artist Vince Gill.

Husband and wife, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill closed their Soul2Soul 2000 Tour at the D Waterhouse Centre, Orlando. The tour grossed nearly $50 million and was witnessed by close to 950,000 people.

American singer, guitarist, and professional baseball player Charley Pride died age 86. In the early to mid-1970s, he was the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley. During the peak years of his recording career (1966–1987), he had 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 30 of which made it to number one. He won the Entertainer of the Year award at the Country Music Association Awards in 1971.