Born on this day near Florence, Alabama, was Sam Phillips, businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who most notably founded Sun Studios and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Through Sun, Phillips discovered such recording talent as Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. The height of his success culminated in his launching of Elvis Presley’s career in 1954. Philips was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2001. He died on 30 July 2003.
Patsy Cline started recording what would become her self-titled debut studio album with Owen Bradley producing. The first single from the album, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” peaked at #2 on the Country charts when released.
Born on this day in Beaumont, Texas, was Mark Nesler, singer-songwriter who wrote Tim McGraw’s “Just To See You Smile,” George Strait’s “Living And Living Well,” Aaron Tippin’s “For You I Will”, Darryl Worley’s “I Miss My Friend” and Keith Urban’s 2008 single “You Look Good in My Shirt”.
Born on this day in Paragould, Arkansas was singer and songwriter Iris DeMent a two-time Grammy nominated singer and songwriter.
Kenny Rogers started a three-week run at the top of the Billboard country chart with “Coward Of The County.” The song also reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #1 on the UK pop chart where it remains the most recent traditional country music song to hit #1 in the UK.
Shania Twain’s “You’re Still The One” was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at this years Grammy Awards. The Canadian singers album Come On Over was also up for Album of the Year. The Dixie Chicks appeared in Best New Artist, the first time country acts have made each of the top four categories.
Toby Keith was at #1 on the US Country chart with Shock’n Y’all, his eighth studio album. “I Love This Bar”, “American Soldier” and “Whiskey Girl” were the three tracks from the album to be released as singles, and all reached #1 on the Hot Country Songs charts. “I Love This Bar” inspired a chain of restaurants that Keith launched under the name I Love This Bar And Grill.
Country songwriter Phil Thomas died age 74. Thomas’s songs were recorded by George Strait, Alabama, Randy Travis and Barbara Mandrell. He is best known for the 1978 “signature” songs he wrote for Johnny Paycheck, “Colorado Kool-Aid” and “Me and the I.R.S.”