June 17 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day, was Clyde Julian Foley, better known as Red Foley, the American singer, radio and TV personality became one of the biggest country music stars after World War II, selling over 25 million records. Foley also hosted the first popular country music series on network television, The Ozark Jubilee, from 1955 to 1960. Foley died on September 19, 1968. Hank Williams, Jr. who had been with him the day he died, later wrote and record (as Luke the Drifter, Jr.) “I Was With Red Foley (The Night He Passed Away)”.

Born on this day in Nashville, Tennessee, was Russell Smith, country music singer-songwriter. Formerly the lead singer of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, Smith penned #1 songs for Randy Travis (“Look Heart, No Hands”), T. Graham Brown (“Don’t Go to Strangers”), Don Williams (“Heartbeat in the Darkness”), and Ricky Van Shelton (“Keep It Between the Lines”). He died age 70 on July 12th 2019.

Born on this day in Germantown, Tennessee was Rivers Rutherford, country music songwriter. He has written several #1 country hits, including “Ain’t Nothing ’bout You” by Brooks & Dunn, “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” by Montgomery Gentry, and “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton. Other acts Rutherford has co written for include: Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith.

Emmylou Harris was at #1 on the Billboard country charts with her version of Delbert McClinton’s “Two More Bottles Of Wine.”

Garth Brooks signed with Capital Records. His eponymous first album was released in 1989 and peaked at #2 in the US country album chart and Brooks went on to brake records for both sales and concert attendance throughout the 1990s.

Billy Ray Cyrus was at #1 on the US Country music chart with his breakthrough hit “Achy Breaky Heart”. Written by Don Von Tress it was originally titled “Don’t Tell My Heart” and recorded by The Marcy Brothers in 1991, its name was later changed to “Achy Breaky Heart” In the US it became a crossover hit on pop and country radio, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, becoming the first Country single to be certified Platinum since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” in 1983.

Blake Shelton was at #1 on the Country chart with his tenth studio album If I’m Honest. The album features collaborations with Gwen Stefani and The Oak Ridge Boys.