TODAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY
(Thurs., April 25)
Fiddler Cliff Bruner was born in 1915.
Vassar Clements was born in 1928.
Vin Bruce, the "King of the Cajuns," was born in 1932.
Rob Crosby was born in 1954.
Elvis Presley's first hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," topped the national pop music charts in 1956.
Rev. Andrew Jenkins, age 70, died in 1956.
Elvis Presley's concert in Saginaw, Mich., was taped in 1977. The recording turned out to be Presley's last. Three of the songs later appeared on the posthumous Presley album "Moody Blue."
Roy Orbison headlined an "Oil Aid" benefit in Midland, Texas, in 1987.
TNN broadcast its first Viewers' Choice Awards in 1989.
Singer, actress and breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John joined thousands of other people at Detroit's Race for the Cure benefit in 1998.
MUSIC AND MORE
BRENDA LEE, CHET ATKINS FETED
Friends and family gathered in Nashville Monday to celebrate Brenda Lee's and the late Chet Atkin's recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. CMT.com reports the party was sponsored jointly by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammy Awards society) and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), the performance rights organization. It was held in the lobby of BMI's Nashville headquarters.
Several of Atkins' relatives were on hand -- including his daughter, Merle Russell, grandchildren Mandy and Jonathan Russell, sister Billie Rose Shockley and niece Megan Taylor. Lee was accompanied by her husband, Ronnie Shacklett.
Nancy Shapiro, vice president of the Recording Academy's southern region, read congratulations to the new inductees from Michael Greene, the Academy's president and CEO. Citing Atkins' 14 Grammy awards, Greene observed, "His real hallmark was his adventurous musical spirit." Greene called Lee "truly one of the first artists of any age to bridge the pop and country worlds."
Shapiro spoke affectionately of Lee, noting that "she should get the award for (being) the most normal person." She also congratulated the diminutive performer for having "the best-looking husband in the room" -- adding diplomatically that her own husband was not in attendance.
"I only wish Chet could be here for this joyous occasion," Lee told the crowd.
Lee and Atkins are also members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
COUNTRY BROADCASTERS TO SALUTE SONNY JAMES
The singer known as "The Southern Gentleman" is about to receive a special honor from the Country Radio Broadcasters Association. The group says it will give its Career Achievement Award to Sonny James.
The country legend -- one of the highest-selling recording artists of the 1960s and '70s -- is now in his early 70s. His first major hit was the great crossover classic "Young Love," released in 1957. He was a dominant force in the country music scene until the mid 1970s. You may also remember "I'll Never Find Another You," "Born to Be With You" and "Only the Lonely."
The award will be made in late June in Nashville during annual ceremonies at the Country Music Disk Jockey Hall of Fame.
(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)