February 26 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day in Kingsland, Arkansas, was Johnny Cash, US country singer, songwriter who was considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is remembered as a country icon, his songs spanned other genres including rock and roll and rockabilly and blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. During the last stage of his career, Cash covered songs by several late 20th-century rock artists, most notably “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails. Cash died of respiratory failure on September 12th 2003, aged 71.

Winners at the 8th Academy of Country Music Awards hosted by Dick Clark included: Top Female Vocalist of the Year – Donna Fargo, Top Male Vocalist of the Year – Merle Haggard, Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year – Tanya Tucker, Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year – Johnny Rodriguez and Song of the Year Donna Fargo “Happiest Girl/USA”.

Loretta Lynn released her twenty-second solo studio album Entertainer of the Year which went on to peak at #1 on the Country music chart. This album was titled Entertainer of the Year after Lynn received the Entertainer of the Year award from the Country Music Association the previous year, becoming the first woman to win that award.

Linda Ronstadt was at #1 on the US Country music album chart with Heart Like a Wheel, which featured her version of “You’re No good”. The album spent 51 weeks on the Billboard Album chart.

Country music winners at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards included; Best Country Female Vocal Performance went to Emmylou Harris for “In My Dreams”, Best Male Country Vocal Performance was won by Merle Haggard for “That’s the Way Love Goes”, Best Country Performance by a Group went to The Judds for “Mama He’s Crazy” and Best Country Song was Steve Goodman (songwriter) for “City of New Orleans” performed by Willie Nelson.

Mike Reid was at #1 on the Country charts with “Walk on Faith”, the former American football player’s only chart topper. Released as the first single from his album Turning for Home, the song became his only #1 country hit. In the 1980s and 1990s, Reid went on to write #1 hits with Marie Osmond, Tanya Tucker, Collin Raye, Alabama and Conway Twitty.

Country music winners at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards held at Madison Square Garden, New York City included; LeAnn Rimes who won Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Blue’, Vince Gill won Best Male Country Vocal Performance for “Worlds Apart”, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group went to Brooks & Dunn for “My Maria” and Best Country Album was Billy Williams (producer) & Lyle Lovett (producer & artist) for The Road to Ensenada.