Born on this day in Rosewood, Kentucky was Merle Travis. The American country and Western singer, songwriter known for his hit “Sixteen Tons”. Travis’ guitar style became known as “Travis picking”, and his songs often discussed the life and exploitation of coal miners in the lyrics. Travis who was was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977 died on October 20, 1983.
Merle Haggard was at #1 on the Country chart with “Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)”. The first single from the album Let Me Tell You About a Song, became Haggard’s tenth #1.
Kenny Rogers was at #1 on both the Country and Billboard charts with “Lady”. Written by Lionel Richie, it became the first record of the 1980s to chart on all four of Billboard magazine’s singles charts – country, Hot 100, adult contemporary and Top Black Singles.
Brooks & Dunn’s 1991 album Brand New Man became the first album by a country duo to be certified quadruple-platinum. At the some time, their 1993 Hard Workin’ Man album goes triple-platinum.
Taylor Swift became the first solo female artist in 20 years to headline a national stadium tour through Australia, (with the last being Madonna’s Girlie Show Tour in 1993), when she kicked off the Oceania leg of her Red World Tour. Swift performed to a capacity crowd of over 40,900 fans at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia, becoming the first female artist in history to sell out the stadium since it was opened in 1988.
Songwriter Billy Ray Reynolds died in his home state of Mississippi age 79. Reynolds was best known for writing songs including “It’ll Be Her,” recorded by Debby Boone and Johnny Cash, and performing as a guitarist in Waylon Jennings’ band the Waylors. He also released a number of singles as a solo artist, including 1973’s “Sandy Sends Her Best.”