March 18 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day in Sledge, Mississippi, was Charley Pride who has had thirty-nine #1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. His greatest success came in the 1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley. Pride became the first Black country musician to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Over the past thirty years, Pride has remained one of the Top 20 best-selling country artists of all-time. His incredible legacy includes 36 #1 hit singles, with over 70 million albums sold. Pride died in Dallas on December 12, 2020, of complications which were related to COVID-19. He was 86 years old.

Born on this day, was Dennis Linde, best known for writing the 1972 Elvis Presley hit, “Burning Love”. Linde wrote numerous hit songs for mainly country music singers, beginning with hits for Roger Miller and Roy Drusky in 1970. In 2000, his song for the Dixie Chicks, “Goodbye Earl”, stirred some controversy for its take on spousal abuse. Linde also wrote tunes that were recorded by Tanya Tucker, Gary Morris, Don Williams, The Judds, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt and Garth Brooks. He died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on December 22, 2006 aged 63.

Buck Owens was at #1 on the Country singles charts with “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail” which became one of Owens’ signature songs and showcases of the Bakersfield sound in the genre. Owens got the idea for the song after seeing an Esso gas station sign with the company’s slogan at the time, “Put a tiger in your tank.”

Lynn Anderson was at #1 on the Country album charts with Rose Garden. It remained at the top of the charts for 14 weeks, the longest run at the top of that chart for any country female vocalist until Shania Twain’s The Woman in Me) album in 1995.

Dolly Parton released “I Will Always Love You” which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It later toped the chart in October 1982, with her re-recording on the soundtrack of the movie version of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Parton wrote the song for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, from whom she was separating professionally after a seven-year partnership.

Taken from the soundtrack to The Electric Horseman, Waylon Jennings was at #1 on the Country singles chart with “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” which was first recorded on the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws.

Randy Travis was at #1 on the Country singles chart with “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart” released as the second single from the album No Holdin’ Back. The song spent four weeks at #1 on the chart and in doing so, became the first song to stay that long atop the chart for 12 years; the last to accomplish the feat was the 1978 song, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

Taylor Swift the eponymous debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift was at #1 on the US country chart. The album was released on October 24, 2006 when Swift was just 16 years old, by Big Machine Records. Swift wrote songs for the album during her freshman year of high school.