December 18 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day was American country music artist Cledus T. Judd. Known primarily for his parodies of popular country music songs, he has been called the “Weird Al” Yankovic of country music. His highest chart peak is the #48 “I Love NASCAR”, a parody of Toby Keith’s 2003 single “I Love This Bar”.

Waylon Jennings was at #1 on the US country album chart with I’ve Always Been Crazy. Three singles from the album hit the country charts’ top ten: the title reached #1 and “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand” peaked at #5, as did “Girl I Can Tell (You’re Trying to Work It Out)”. “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand” was Jennings’ personal statement on the state of the outlaw movement, written after having been detained by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1977 for possession of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute. Jennings was never convicted of the crime due to critical faults in the legal process against him.

Reba McEntire won a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy series, for her work in the WB’s Reba. Among her competition for the prize was: Will And Grace star Debra Messing and Sex In The City actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

American singer and songwriter Larry Henley died in Nashville, Tennessee at age 77. He was best known for co-writing (with Jeff Silbar) the 1989 hit record “Wind Beneath My Wings.” He co-wrote with Red Lane “‘Til I Get It Right” for Tammy Wynette, later covered by Barbra Streisand and Kenny Rogers. Other #1 country hits were his songs “Is It Still Over?” (Randy Travis), “Lizzie and the Rainman” (Tanya Tucker), and “He’s a Heartache (Looking for a Place to Happen)” (Janie Fricke). Other songs included “Shotgun rider” for Delbert McClinton; “You’re Welcome to Tonight” by Lynn Anderson and Gary Morris; and “The World Needs a Melody” by The Carter Family with Johnny Cash.

Gordie Tapp died aged 94. The Canadian entertainer was best known as a radio and television presenter, comedian and longtime cast member of the television series Hee Haw. Tapp was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990.