2009 – Taylor Swift sweeps the 43rd annual CMA Awards, hastening the end of western civilization – but not before days of tiresome discussion about how we’ve surely reached the end of western civilization.
2004 – Sugarland performs “Baby Girl” during its Grand Ole Opry debut. Backstage after the performance, Kristian Bush comments on what a huge honor this must be for the Opry.
2003 – Travis Tritt undergoes surgery for a torn rotator cuff after overextending his arm while tossing a quarter. Doctors also caution him about the dangers of “smiling and dialing.”
2001 – O Brother, Where Are Thou? wins Album of the Year and The Soggy Bottom Boys’ “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow” takes Single during the 35th annual CMA Awards. Eight years later, these categories go to Taylor Swift’s Fearless and Lady Antebellum’s “I Run to You,” respectively. Wow, maybe this is the end of western civilization.
1999 – Garth Brooks hosts an episode of Saturday Night Live featuring musical guest Chris Gaines, whose earnest performance is mistaken for a skit.
1996 – Deana Carter takes home a gold plaque for her debut album, Did I Sell My Soul For This?
1992 – Billy Ray Cyrus becomes the first country artist to ship 5 million copies of his debut album; weeks later, Miley is born. Ever stop to think that Hannah Montana was raised on “Achy Breaky” money?
1990 – The Internal Revenue Service seizes the property of Willie Nelson in six states, then issues a PSA debunking the tooth fairy myth and sends agents into the streets with cauldrons to boil litters of puppies.
1983 – Miranda Lambert born in Lindale, Texas. No jokes about Miranda. She’s dangerous.
1978 – United Artists releases Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler album, featuring the title track and “She Believes In Me” and nine other songs that nobody remembers.
1977 – Riders In The Sky is formed in the parking lot of a Nashville club, Phranks & Steins. Decades later, new-country trio Love & Theft is formed at the Abercrombie & Fitch now standing at the same site.
1977 – Bucky Covington is born in Rockingham, NC, while twin brother Rocky is born in Buckingham Palace.
1975 – Reba McEntire signs her first record deal with mercury. There weren’t any pens handy, so she had to break a thermometer. (Oops, should be Mercury. That capital makes all the difference.)
1968 – Chris Cagle is born in De Ridder, Louisiana. Doctors call it a pale imitation of Tracy Lawrence’s birth months earlier. (I hope I’m not the only one who hears this?)
1962 – Foreseeing the need for a Choice Hotels jingle circa 2005, Hank Snow takes “I’ve Been Everywhere” to the top of the charts. Johnny Cash pays attention.
1951 – Hank Williams makes his first national TV appearance, performing “Hey Good Lookin'” on The Perry Como Show. They only show him from the waist up, fearing his slight knee bounces might be too provocative.
1949 – Yvonne Vaughn born in Mount Airy, North Carolina. As Donna Fargo, she scores back-to-back million-sellers with “The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A.” and “Funny Face” during the ’70s. She’s considerably less chipper by 2008, issuing rambly topical song “We Can Do Better in America” (link) after a decades-long silence.
1949 – Red Foley records “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy,” “I Gotta Have My Baby Back,” and “Sara Smile” (feat. Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl) at Castle Studio in the Tulane Hotel.
1938 – A boy named Narvel (Felts) is born near Kaiser, Arkansas. To everyone’s disappointment, he never works up the courage to track down his runaway father and beat an explanation out of him.*
* Legend has it that upon hearing his name for the first time, my Grandma quipped: “Narvel felts WHAT?”