Born on this day in Mount Olive, Alabama, was Hank Williams (born Hiram King Williams). The American singer-songwriter and musician is regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that would place in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked #1. During his last years Williams’s consumption of alcohol, morphine and painkillers severely compromised his professional life. Williams died aged 29 on January 1, 1953.
George Jones released “Why Baby Why” on Starday Records. It became Jones’ first chart single, following several unsuccessful singles released during the prior year when it peaked at #4 on the Billboard country charts.
Johnny Cash made his first appearance on UK television when he appeared on Boy Meets Girl. Cash appeared solo, as his backing group the Tennessee Two who, under UK Musicicans Union rules, were not allowed to accompany Cash.
Lynn Anderson was at #1 on the country music album chart with You’re My Man, Anderson’s fourth studio album. The record was a #1 hit on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for seven weeks, Anderson’s third (and to date, last) #1 on the chart. Produced by Anderson’s husband Glenn Sutton, the title song was Anderson’s second #1 record.
Faron Young who has international success with “It’s Four in the Morning” – was charged with assault for spanking a girl in the audience at a concert in Clarksburg, West Virginia after claiming she spat on him. Young appeared before a Wood County, West Virginia justice of the peace and was fined $24, plus $11 in court costs. It was the first in a string of incidents involving Young, whose increasingly bizarre behavior would begin overshadowing his success.
Reba McEntire made her Grand Ole Opry debut. She almost did not make it in the door after a guard at the Opry gate missed her name on the night’s list of performers. Her parents and older sister, Alice, drove 1,400 miles round trip from their Oklahoma home to see what turned out to be Reba’s three-minute performance that night.
Rascal Flatts received the 2,480th star in the category of recording of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Marvin Rainwater died aged 88. The American country and rockabilly singer and songwriter had several hits during the late 1950s, including “Gonna Find Me a Bluebird.”
Country music star George Hamilton IV died in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 77. The singer and guitarist, who began performing as a teenager in the 1950s, had suffered a major heart attack a few days earlier. After an early foray into pop, Hamilton became a country stalwart, scoring 40 hits in the 1960s and 70s. He was inducted into Nashville’s Grand Old Opry in 1960 and continued to work until shortly before he was taken ill.