May 17th: On this day in Country Music
Born on this day in Los Angeles, California was guitarist Pat Flynn. He joined the progressive New Grass Revival in 1981, eventually becoming a studio musician and playing on hits by Randy Travis, Lee Ann Womack, Kathy Mattea, George Strait and Conway Twitty, among others. Pat wrote and performed on Garth Brooks’ hit single “Do What You Gotta Do”.
Working at the Capitol Recording Studio in Hollywood, Glen Campbell recorded “Gentle On My Mind,” a song written by John Hartford and arranged by Leon Russell. The song went on to win won four Grammy Awards the following year and became the theme to the television variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour between 1969 and 1972.
B.J. Thomas was at #1 on the US Country chart with, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song”. The song which became Thomas’ second #1 single is also the longest-titled #1 song (not including the Stars On 45 Medley) to date.
Willie Nelson was at #1 on the Country album chart with Somewhere Over the Rainbow which featured 1940’s pop standards arranged by Nelson. The album’s acoustic jazz instrumentation was also meant to play tribute to one of his heroes, Belgian gypsy jazz guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt, who influenced Nelson’s playing.
Johnny Cash started four days of recording in producer Rick Rubin’s living room in Los Angeles, backed only by his own guitar. This was the start of sessions for his forthcoming American Recordings album.
Kenny Rogers was at #1 on the Country chart with “Buy Me a Rose” released as the third single from his album She Rides Wild Horses. Upon reaching #1 on the BillboardHot Country charts, the song made Rogers (who was 61 years old at the time) the oldest country singer to have a #1 hit.
Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” won Single Record and Song of the Year during the 40th annual Academy of Country Music awards. Written by Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, it was also named as the #1 country song of 2004 by Billboard.
Grammy Award winning country musician, songwriter Guy Clark died in Nashville following a lengthy battle with lymphoma. He released more than twenty albums, and his songs have been recorded by other artists including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, and Rodney Crowell. Clark won the 2014Grammy Award for Best Folk Album: My Favorite Picture Of You.