February 17 – This Day in Country Music

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1965
“The Tennessee Waltz” was declared the state song of Tennessee. Written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King the song was first released in 1947 by Cowboy Copas. The song also became a multimillion seller in 1950 by Patti Page.

1969
After having spent three days recording tracks for his forthcoming Nashville Skyline album, Bob Dylan was joined by Johnny Cash, and the pair recorded “Girl From The North Country” together, which was also included on the album. The song was written following his first trip to England in December, 1962. It has been a matter of debate as to which, if any, of Dylan’s former girflriends inspired the song: Echo Helstrom, Bonnie Beecher or Suze Rotolo.

1975
Dolly Parton released her fifteenth solo studio album The Bargain Store. The Parton-penned title track, one of her best-known compositions, she used worn, second-hand merchandise in a discount store as a metaphor for a woman damaged by an ill-fated relationship. The song was dropped from a number of country stations’ playlists when programmers mistook the line “you can easily afford the price” as a thinly veiled reference to prostitution. Despite the decrease in airplay, the song nonetheless topped the U.S. country singles charts in April 1975.

1998
The Nashville Network premiered a group of television specials called The George Jones Show, with Jones as host. The program featured informal chats with Jones holding court with country’s biggest stars old and new. Guests included Loretta Lynn, Trace Adkins, Johnny Paycheck, Lorrie Morgan, Merle Haggard, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Charley Pride, Bobby Bare, Patty Loveless and Waylon Jennings, among others.

2001
Brad Paisley was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. He was 28 years old when he accepted the invitation, becoming the youngest member ever to join.

2007
Hank Williams, Jr. filed for divorce from his fourth wife, Mary Jane, whom he married in 1990.