Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copus and Hawkshaw Hawkins were all killed when the plane they were travelling in flew into severe weather and crashed in a forest near Camden, Tennessee, 90 miles from the destination. The Country artists had left for Nashville in a Piper Comanche piloted by Copas’ son-in-law (and Cline’s manager), Randy Hughes. The three had perfromed at a benefit concert at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas for the family of disc jockey Cactus Jack Call, who had died the previous December in an automobile accident.
The film Coal Miner’s Daughter debuted in Nashville, and soon became the #1 box office hit in the United States. The film starred Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn and Tommy Lee Jones as her husband Mooney Lynn. The film received seven Academy Award nominations, winning a Best Actress Oscar for Spacek.
Steve Earle released his debut album Guitar Town. It topped the Billboard country album charts, and the title song reached #7 on the country singles charts. Earle was also nominated for two 1987 Grammy Awards, Best Male Country Vocalist and Best Country Song, for the title track. It was one of the first country music albums to be recorded digitally.
Lionel Richie released Tuskegee which featured 13 of his hit songs performed as duets with country stars including Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Little Big Town, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett. The album became his first #1 album for more than 25 years.