1/20/20 – Day in the Country

1924
Born on this day in Tampa, Florida, was Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr. who became known professionally as Slim Whitman. The American country music singer and songwriter, known for his yodelling abilities has sold in excess of 120 million albums. His 1955 hit single “Rose Marie” held the Guinness World Record for the longest time at#1 on the UK charts until Bryan Adams broke the record in 1991. Beatle George Harrison cited Whitman as an early influence, stating; “The first person I ever saw playing a guitar was Slim Whitman”. He died on June 19th 2013.

1959
George Jones released his sixth studio album Country Church Time which includes multiple early gospel recordings by Jones. The album wasn’t received well, and did not chart, due in large part to the lackluster sound of Starday and Mercury Records during the 1950s.

1965
Born on this day in Danville, Kentucky, was John Michael Montgomery, country singer, songwriter who has produced more than thirty singles on the Billboard country charts, including two #1 country singles of the year: “I Swear” (1994) and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)” (1995).

1979
Dolly Parton was at #1 on the Country charts with “Baby I’m Burnin'” which was released as a double A-side single with “I Really Got the Feeling.” The song was aimed at the pop charts, while “I Really Got the Feeling” was aimed toward to country charts.

1985
Born on this day in Jefferson, Georgia, was Brantley Gilbert who scored the 2012 Country #1 hit “Country Must Be Country Wide” and his follow-up, “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do”, also hit #1. His 2019 album Fire & Brimstone peaked at #1 on the Country album chart.

1985
Alabama released “There’s No Way” which went to #1 on the Country charts. The track was the sixteenth in a string of 21 consecutive #1 singles in as many releases, a string that spanned from 1980 through 1987. The feat allowed Alabama to tie Sonny James’ 14-year-old record for most #1 songs in as many consecutive single releases.

1990
Billboard magazine began basing the Hot Country Singles chart entirely on radio airplay through Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), which used a computerized system to detect actual radio spins. The number of chart positions is reduced from 100 to 75. The new system has an immediate effect on how long the year’s biggest songs stay at #1:

1997
Billy Ray Cyrus, Lonestar, Trisha Yearwood and Kim Richey were among the performers at Bill Clinton’s inaugural celebration. Vice president Al Gore and wife Tipper danced to the “Tennessee Waltz.”

2012
Country music producer/songwriter Larry Butler died in his sleep in Pensacola, Florida. From the mid-1970s through the 1980s, he worked with Kenny Rogers, including Kenny Rogers (1976), The Gambler (1978), Gideon (1980) and I Prefer The Moonlight (1987). Butler is the only Nashville producer to win the Grammy Award for Producer of the year.

2014
It was announced that Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” had become the best-selling digital country single in history after having over 6.6 million downloads to date. The track spent 24 weeks atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, making it the longest-running #1 since the chart’s inception.

2016
Tim McGraw released “Humble and Kind” which became his twenty-fifth Country #1 hit single. Written by Lori McKenna the song won the award for Best Country Song at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, “Video of the Year” at the 2016 CMT Music Awards, “Song of the Year” at 2016 CMA Awards and “Country Song of the Year” at the 2016 American Music Awards.