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Country Music News

By DICK KELSEY, United Press International   |   March 14, 2003 at 5:00 AM   |   Comments

TODAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY

(Friday, March 14)

Michael Martin Murphey born in Dallas, 1945.

Ernest Tubb debuts on Grand Ole Opry, 1943.

Dave Dudley's No. 1 single, "The Pool Shark," hits charts, 1970.

Elvis Presley tops Billboard's country chart for the last time with posthumous hit "Guitar Man," 1981.

Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Paul Simon among stars performing at Farm Aid 5 in Irving, Texas, 1992.

Mark Chesnutt's "What A Way To Live" album goes gold, 1995.

(Saturday, March 15)

Ry Cooder born in Los Angeles, 1947.

Flatt and Scruggs release "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," 1950.

Hank Thompson's first No. 1, "Wild Side Of Life," is charted, 1952.

Col. Tom Parker becomes Elvis Presley's manager, 1956.

Roger Miller wins six Grammys, 1965.

The Opry's final Friday night performance at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, 1974.

Freddy Fender tops Billboard country chart with "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," 1975.

Anne Murray's "A Little Good News" album goes gold, 1985.

Barbara Mandrell named All-Around Female Entertainer by People's Choice Awards, 1987.

Mary Chapin Carpenter's "State Of The Heart" goes gold, 1994.

(Sunday, March 16)

Jerry Jeff Walker born in Oneonta, N.Y., 1942.

Grandpa Jones debuts on Grand Ole Opry, 1946.

Hank Williams records "Hey Good Lookin'" and "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)," 1951.

Ray Benson, founder of Asleep at the Wheel, born in Philadelphia, 1951.

Ronnie McCoury, mandolin player for the Del McCoury Band, born 1967.

The new Grand Ole Opry House opens with Roy Acuff giving yo-yo lessons to President Richard Nixon, 1974.

George Strait's "Ocean Front Property" album goes gold, 1987.

Eight members of Reba McEntire's band and road show die in a plane crash near San Diego, 1991.

David Ball's "Thinkin' Problem" goes platinum, 1995.

Pam Tillis debuts on Broadway, beginning three-week run in the Tony Award-winning musical "Smokey Joe's Cafe," 1999.


MUSIC AND MORE


CHICKS EXPLAIN BUSH SLAM AT LONDON CONCERT

The Dixie Chicks have posted a statement on their Web site in hopes of explaining a controversial comment by Natalie Maines during a London concert.

The audience cheered when Maines said, "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas," according to London's The Guardian newspaper.

The remark sparked a controversy on radio stations and elsewhere in the United States, leading the trio to issue an explanation on their Web site, dixiechicks.com.

"I feel the president is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world," Maines said. "My comments were made in frustration and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."

The statement also says, "The anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."


GAYLORD DETAILS OPRY HOUSE REDO

The $7.5 million renovation of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville is underway, with plans to add a new gift shop, box office and other enhancements.

Gaylord Entertainment on Thursday said the project, expected to be completed in October, will not impact the Opry's performance schedule.

Other improvements include a new concessions area, upgraded restrooms and enhanced decor, according to a news release on the Opry's Web site, opry.com.


LEE ANN GETS HER OWN DAY

From now on, each and every March 13 will Lee Ann Womack Day in Texas.

Womack was honored in Austin Thursday by Gov. Rick Perry and a group of state legislators for her contributions to country music, said her Web site, leeannwomack.com. Womack grew up in the East Texas town of Jacksonville.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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