March 25 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day, Hoyt Axton, US singer, songwriter and actor who wrote songs for Elvis Presley, Three Dog Night, John Denver, Ringo Starr and Glen Campbell. Had his own hits with “When The Morning Comes” and “Flash Of Fire”. Acting roles included Bionic Woman and McCloud. Axton died of a heart attack on October 26th 1999, aged 61.

Born on this day, was Ronald Dean “Ronnie” McDowell, country music artist who had the 1977 hit “The King Is Gone”, a tribute to Elvis Presley, who had died not long before the single’s release. McDowell has charted more than thirty Top 40 hits on the Billboard country music charts. Two of his singles, “Older Women” and “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation” peaked at #1 on the country charts.

Johnny Cash recorded the June Carter/Merle Kilgore song “Ring Of Fire.” The song was originally recorded by June’s sister Anita Carter, on her 1963 album Folk Songs Old and New as “(Love’s) Ring of Fire”. Cash claimed he had a dream where he heard the song accompanied by “Mexican trumpets”. It became the biggest hit of Johnny Cash’s career, staying at #1 on the charts for seven weeks.

Linda Ronstadt released her version of the Everly Brothers 1960 hit “When Will I Be Loved” from her album Heart Like a Wheel, which peaked at #1 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

“Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson became the last song for 12 years to spend four weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. There wouldn’t be another four-week #1 until “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart” by Randy Travis in April 1990.

Buck Owens Jr. American singer and guitarist died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack. He pioneered the Bakersfield sound, a reference to Bakersfield, California. He scored twenty #1 hits on the Billboard country music charts, his first being the 1963 hit “Act Naturally”.

Dan Seals died aged 61. He first gained fame as the “England Dan” half of the soft rock duo England Dan and John Ford Coley. After the duo disbanded, Seals began a solo career in country music and throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, released 16 studio albums and charted more than 20 singles on the country charts, eleven of which reached #1, including: “Meet Me in Montana” (with Marie Osmond), “Bop”, “You Still Move Me”, “I Will Be There”, “Three Time Loser”, and “Good Times”.

“Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford was one of 25 recordings to be preserved by the US Library of Congress. The song was written and first recorded by Merle Travis at the Radio Recorders Studio B in Hollywood, California on August 8, 1946.