September 8 – This Day in Country Music


Born on this day in Geiger, Alabama, was Jimmie Rodgers, singer, songwriter, who was among the first country music superstars and pioneers, Rodgers was also known as “The Singing Brakeman”, “The Blue Yodeler”, and “The Father of Country Music.” Rodgers sold over 12 million records and was the first person to be elected into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Rodgers died on 26th May 1933.

Born on this day, in Detroit, Michigan, was Harlan Howard, American songwriter. In a career spanning six decades, Howard wrote songs, recorded by a variety of different artists including “Fall to Pieces”, co-written with Hank Cochran and recorded by Patsy Cline. Howard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997. He died on March 3, 2002.

Born on this day in Winchester, Virginia, was Patsy Cline, country music singer. Her hits began in 1957 with Donn Hecht’s and Alan Block’s “Walkin’ After Midnight”, Hank Cochran’s and Harlan Howard’s “I Fall to Pieces”, Hank Cochran’s “She’s Got You”, Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” and ended in 1963 with Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams”. She died aged 30 on 5 March 1963 at the height of her career in a private plane crash. She was one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed female vocalists of the 20th century. Ten years after her death, in 1973, she became the first female solo artist inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Born on this day in Niagara Falls, New York, was Gary Baker, country music singer and songwriter who was once a member of The Shooters. He has written songs for John Michael Montgomery, Alabama and others. His song “I swear”, recorded by both All 4-One and John Michael Montgomery has sold more than 20 million copies internationally, and won the 1995 Grammy for “Best Country Song.”

In a rare double bill, Johnny Cash and George Jones performed at the Oakdale Music Theatre, Wallingford, Connecticut.

Don Williams died at his home in Alabama aged 78. Williams, who was known as “the Gentle Giant” because of his easygoing temperament, died after a short illness. Williams had 17 #1 hits in the US and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, before he retired in 2016. His career started as a musician in Portland, a city he moved to from his native Texas, where he was born in 1939. He moved to Nashville in the late 60s and wrote songs for some of country’s biggest names, including “Cowboy” Jack Clement.

Troy Gentry, half of the duo Montgomery Gentry, was killed in a helicopter crash in in Medford, New Jersey where the duo was scheduled to perform that evening.