Born on this day in Attica, Indiana, George D. Hay, the founder of the original Grand Ole Opry radio program on WSM-AM in Nashville, Tennessee, from which the country music stage show of the same name evolved. The show was originally named WSM Barn Dance, and Hay billed himself as “The Solemn Old Judge.”
Marty Robbins was at #1 on the Country chart with “I Walk Alone”, Robbins’ thirteenth #1. At least four other country artists recorded “I Walk Alone” for albums released in 1969: Loretta Lynn’s Your Squaw Is on the Warpath, Kitty Wells’ Guilty Street, David Houston’s Where Love Used to Live, and Willie Nelson’s My Own Peculiar Way.
Faith Hill released Breathe, her fourth studio album. Breathe is one of the most successful country/pop albums to date and has been certified 8 Platinum for shipping eight million copies in the US. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, a first for the country artist.
After 27 years as host of “American Country Countdown,” radio personality Bob Kingsley stepped down, after his production company and ABC Radio Networks (which distributes the show) fail to come to terms in renegotiating a distribution agreement. Kix Brooks, one half of the superstar duo Brooks & Dunn, was named the new host and was slated to take over January 21, 2006.
It was announced that Merle Haggard had been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in May of this year and had undergone surgery during which part of one of his lungs was removed.
Columbia Records released Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn a tribute album compiled by various artists that is dedicated to country music icon Loretta Lynn. The album features a duet on “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” by Alan Jackson and Martina McBride, and Gretchen Wilson’s cover of “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).” Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow and Lee Ann Womack also feature on the album.