May 1 -This Day in Country Music


Born on this day near outside Hackleburg, Alabama, was James Loden who became known as Sonny James, best known for his 1957 hit, “Young Love”. Dubbed the Southern Gentleman, James has had 72 country and pop chart hits from 1953 to 1983, including a five-year streak of 16 straight among his 23 #1 hits. James died on 22 Feb 2016 aged 87.

Johnny Cash released his classic song, “I Walk the Line”, which became his first #1 Billboard country hit and remained on the charts for over 43 weeks, selling over 2 million copies. The unique chord progression for the song was inspired by backwards playback of guitar runs on Cash’s tape recorder while he was in the Air Force stationed in Germany.

Born on this day in Delhi, Louisiana, was Tim McGraw country singer and actor. Many of McGraw’s albums and singles have topped the country music charts with total album sales in excess of 40 million units in the US. McGraw had 11 consecutive albums debut at #1 on the Billboard albums charts, as well as twenty-one singles hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He is married to country singer Faith Hill and is the son of former baseball player Tug McGraw.

Bob Dylan recorded an appearance for The Johnny Cash Show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. After two solo numbers from Dylan, Johnny Cash joined him for a rendition of “Girl From The North Country.” In this primetime show, Cash enjoyed booking contemporary performers as guests; Neil Young, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition (who appeared a record four times on his show), James Taylor, Ray Charles and Eric Clapton were all booked to appear on forthcoming shows.

Man in Black the 38th overall album by Johnny Cash was released. Many of the songs on the album contain political references, either broad or specific, while the title song refers both to Cash’s tendency to wear black at live shows and to the tumultuous times in which the song was created, implying the Vietnam War.

Johnny Cash released his 54th album One Piece at a Time. The album is notable for being credited to “Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three”, a credit that hadn’t been used on Cash releases since the 1960s, and for featuring Cash’s recording of “Love Has Lost Again,” written by his daughter, Rosanne Cash prior to the launch of her own solo career.

Alabama released “Feels So Right” which became the group’s fourth straight #1 single on the Country charts. The track was the fourth in a string of 21 consecutive #1 singles in as many releases, a string that spanned from 1980 through 1987.

Reba McEntire released Sweet Sixteen her sixteenth studio album, (the album’s title derives from its being McEntire’s sixteenth album). Four singles from the album entered the Billboard country charts: the #1 hits “Cathy’s Clown” (a cover version of the Everly Brothers’ song) and “Walk On”, and the top ten hits “Til Love Comes Again” and “Little Girl”. The album stayed at #1 for 16 consecutive weeks.

Charley Pride accepted an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry, in the process becoming the first black Opry regular in the show’s more than 70-year history. Pride has sold over 70 million records world-wide.

Miranda Lambert released her second album Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The album went to #1 on the Top Country Albums chart and also reached #6 on the overall American chart. In late Spring 2008, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won the Album of the Year award at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Carrie Underwood released her fourth studio album Blown Away. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, make her the third female to chart at #1 on the Billboard charts with three country albums, tying her with Linda Ronstadt and Faith Hill. The album spawned the Country Airplay #1 singles “Good Girl” and “Blown Away.”