1616 – William Shakespeare, a playwright, dies at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He languishes in obscurity for 378 years until being namechecked in Patty Loveless’ “I Try To Think About Elvis.”
1926 – Uncle Dave Macon officially joins the Grand Ole Opry. He is inducted by Little Jimmy Dickens.
1931 – Victor releases Jimmie Rodgers’ “Mississippi River Blues” and “T.B. Blues.” They go on to become important canonical recordings in country music despite not featuring guest vocals by Nelly.
1934 – The blackface comedy duo Lasses & White makes its Grand Ole Opry debut, marking the institution’s most offensive moment until the induction of Montgomery Gentry 75 years later.
1942 – Home In Wyomin’ hits movie theaters, with Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette and Spade Cooley appearing on screen. Autry sings “I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes” and “Redneck Crazy.”
1943 – Richard Sterban of The Oak Ridge Boys is born in Camden, New Jersey. His first words, delivered later that same day in deep bass tones, are “oom papa mow mow.” By the end of the week, he is on the phone with reporters giving interviews so William Lee Golden won’t have to.
1950 – Thanks to an inspired lyric video put together by his social media team – groundbreaking in its use of ugly fonts set against stock background images – Hank Williams’ “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” finally reaches the #1 position on the Billboard country singles chart.
1969 – Dean Martin performs a medley of recent country hits – “Gentle On My Mind,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “19 You + Me” – on his NBC television series.
1973 – The Houston Post quotes Ernest Tubb on Kris Kristofferson: “Representing country music, you know – with a beard, and using four-letter words in front of children… it’s just a shame. I didn’t know a Rhodes Scholar could be so dumb.” Tubb’s critique of beards goes largely ignored, but most country singers of the next 40 years honor him by not doing anything to deserve a Rhodes Scholarship.
1974 – A Memphis judge awards $1,000 to Ann McMahon, who says Jerry Lee Lewis slapped her and humiliated her over the sound system during a performance in July 1971. Stung by the harsh $1,000 judgment, Jerry Lee wises up and never again gets in any sort of legal trouble.
1977 – Casey Donahew is born in Burleson, Texas. Embarking on a music career decades later, he attracts fans from as far away as Crowley.
1978 – Future Zac Brown Band member Clay Cook is born in Snellville, Georgia. His parents are concerned when he shows an early predilection for running off with large groups of bearded hobos.
1980 – Danny Gokey is born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After earning national attention as a contestant on FOX-TV’s American Idol in 2009, he proceeds to have a long and successful career as a country hitmaker, proving his critics wrong.
1981 – MCA releases George Strait’s “Unwound.” George reluctantly gives press interview.
1986 – Trisha Yearwood interviews for a job with the Country Music Hall of Fame, barely passing the round where she is handed a sack of laundry and asked to separate Webb Pierce’s rhinestone-studded underwear from Porter Wagoner’s rhinestone-studded underwear.
1996 – MCA releases George Strait’s Blue Clear Sky album. George reluctantly gives press interview.
2000 – Action hero Craig Morgan extinguishes countless brush fires, saves a bus full of nuns, rights four overturned train cars, and launches a missile that destroys an approaching asteroid during his half-hour drive to debut on the Grand Ole Opry that night.
2001 – Johnny Cash and photographer Jim Marshall sue Urban Outfitters in San Francisco for using a famous picture of Cash flipping off a TV crew at San Quentin on a T-shirt. As part of the eventual settlement, Urban Outfitters offers Cash free hipster t-shirts and ’80s cropped parachute pants for life.
2005 – Lee Ann Womack appears on the cover of Woman’s World magazine, the top of her head barely in frame.
2007 – Lonestar guitarist Michael Britt concedes on CMT.com that the band’s concentration on family-themed songs damaged it: “We had songs like ‘I’m Already There,’ ‘Front Porch’ and ‘Mr. Mom’ kind of back to back. I think that really limited our appeal.” Richie McDonald dispatches a tortoise with a human head on it to Britt’s front porch later that day.
2009 – Taylor Swift receives a key to the city of Evansville, Indiana, which she immediately has melted down into a charm bracelet for her cat.
2012 – American Idol winner Scotty McCreery is hit in the throat by a ball while pitching for Garner High School, causing his voice to drop lower than is typical for someone his age.
2012 – The Winchester Herald Chronicle in Tennessee reports that the JaneDear Girls have split. John Rich is suddenly spotted around Nashville more often, and someone finds a wig and makeup kit in his trash come next garbage day.
Tip of the hat to RolandNote for compiling the truths on which these lies are based.