25 year-old Hank Williams made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry, where he became the first performer to receive six encores.
Buck Owens had the #1 country album with I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail. Owens later said he got the idea for “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” after seeing an Esso gas station sign with the company’s slogan at the time, “Put a tiger in your tank.”
Born on this day, was Texas country music singer-songwriter Bruce Robison who has written several songs which have become hits for other artists including: “Travelin’ Soldier,” the Dixie Chicks, (reached #1 on the Country charts); “Angry All the Time,” (recorded by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in 2001, also reached #1 on the country charts); and “Wrapped,” (recorded in 2006 by George Strait, also reached #1).
True Grit the American western film directed by Henry Hathaway, starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell was released. The film gave Campbell a Golden Globe nomination for ‘Most Promising Newcomer’.
Willie Nelson’s remake of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind” was at #1 on Billboard country singles chart. Nelson won a Grammy award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the song.
Reba McEntire was at #1 on the country chart with Reba the singer’s fifteenth studio album, the title signifying that she had become so well known that she could be identified by first name alone, but also signaling an entirely different style to her music. Gone were the steel guitars and fiddles of My Kind of Country and Have I Got a Deal for You, to be replaced by a highly produced and orchestrated sound. Two of its tracks, “I Know How He Feels” and “New Fool at an Old Game”, reached #1 on the Billboard country singles charts.
Country Music magazine announced that it would cease publication, effective with the August – September 2003 issue. The final issue’s cover artist was Martina McBride, as part of a salute to women in country music. The magazine’s sister publication, Country Weekly, which had largely taken over the market for country music-related journalism, picked up part of the slack left by the closure of Country Music, both of which were published by American Media Inc.
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard made their way back to the top of the charts. Their duets album, Django and Jimmie, debuted at Number One on the Billboard Country Albums chart, and in the Number Seven spot on the all-genre Billboard 200. The album’s title is a reference to Nelson and Haggard’s heroes jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and one of country’s first stars, Jimmie Rodgers.
The Grand Ole Opry’s Jim Ed Brown died from lung cancer at the age of 81. Brown was a country music singer and TV and radio host who first found fame as a member of The Browns, a country music group he started with his two sisters in the 1950s. Later, he managed a successful solo career for decades, which included hits like “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You,” and TV successes like You Can Be a Star. He is perhaps best known as the voice of Grand Ole Opry radio’s Country Music Greats Radio Show, which he hosted for more than a decade.
Country singer Randy Howard was killed in a gunfight with a bounty hunter at the age of 65. According to Tennessee authorities, the bounty hunter arrived at Howard’s home to take him into custody after a missed court appearance, when Howard opened fire. The bounty hunter shot back, killing Howard. The warrant for Howard’s arrest was initially issued for DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and driving on a revoked license.