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5/18/2013 Barbara Mandrell makes a surprise appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. She doesn’t sing, merely waves to fans at Nashville’s Opry House
5/18/2012 Groundbreaking is held for the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City, a facility for pediatric hospital patients funded by the Toby Keith Foundation
5/18/2008 George Jones appears at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, where he trots out a surprise guest, Jack Greene, who sings “Statue Of A Fool”
5/18/2006 Sony BMG drops the Epic imprint, shifting Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert to the Columbia label. Historically, Epic has represented such acts as George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Collin Raye, Charlie Rich, Patty Loveless and Merle Haggard
5/18/2006 Sara Evans joins Barbara Mandrell to record “Crackers” for the album “She Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool: A Tribute To Barbara Mandrell”
5/18/2003 A wheelchair-bound Johnny Cash sits in the front row at the funeral for June Carter at the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Emmylou Harris, Larry Gatlin, The Oak Ridge Boys and Sheryl Crow all perform at the memorial
5/18/1999 Travis Tritt flies with the Blue Angels squadron from the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida
5/18/1999 Arista releases the Radney Foster album “See What You Want To See.” It features the original versions of the future Keith Urban hits “Raining On Sunday” and “I’m In,” plus “Godspeed,” which The Dixie Chicks re-tool for their “Home” album
5/18/1999 Reprise releases “Last Chance For A Thousand Years – Dwight Yoakam’s Greatest Hits From The 90’s”
5/18/1998 The All-American Football Foundation presents Southern comedian Jerry Clower its Outstanding American Award at Sam’s Town Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. Clower played football for Mississippi State
5/18/1996 Daryle Singletary resumes his touring schedule in Huntsville, Alabama, a week after breaking his leg on a Texas ranch
5/18/1996 Brooks & Dunn begin a three-week stay at #1 on the Billboard country chart with their remake of “My Maria”
5/18/1995 Gordon Rouse dies in Florida. He was a member of The Rouse Brothers, who originated the classic “Orange Blossom Special”
5/18/1992 For his 40th birthday, George Strait is given a custom Harley-Davidson lowrider by his wife, Norma Strait
5/18/1991 Denied graduation in 1970 because he hadn’t finished a Spanish class, Larry Gatlin sings the national anthem and receives his diploma from the University of Houston, which has since reduced its foreign language requirements
5/18/1987 Warner/Curb releases Hank Williams Jr.’s “Born To Boogie,” with lyrical nods to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)”
5/18/1986 Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings appear in a CBS-TV remake of the western movie “Stagecoach,” along with June Carter, John Schneider, John Carter Cash, Jessi Colter, David Allan Coe and Billy Swan
5/18/1985 In his first appearance in England, Ricky Skaggs begins two nights of recordings at the Dominion Theatre, resulting in the album “Live In London.” In the audience for one of the shows: Elvis Costello
5/18/1985 Douglas, Arizona, proclaims Marty Robbins Day
5/18/1982 T. Graham Brown moves to Nashville
5/18/1980 Barbara Mandrell breaks the sound barrier, flying with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
5/18/1978 The Buddy Holly Story has its world premiere in Dallas. Holly’s widow, Maria Elena, runs to the restroom crying during “True Love Ways.” Producer Jim Ed Norman is inspired by the film to cut the song with Mickey Gilley in 1980
5/18/1971 Loretta Lynn is named an honorary Texas citizen
5/18/1966 Reprise releases Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night.” Produced by Jimmy Bowen, the single features Glen Campbell on guitar
5/18/1961 The Country Music Association begins its quarterly board meetings at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach. During the two-day gathering, the board votes to establish a Country Music Hall of Fame
5/18/1959 A history lesson makes history as Johnny Horton’s recording of “The Battle Of New Orleans” goes to #1 on the Billboard country singles chart
5/18/1957 Rusty & Doug, the Kershaw brothers’ Cajun act, debuts on the Grand Ole Opry
5/18/1952 George Strait is born in Poteet, Texas. The authentic cowboy becomes a voice for traditional country beginning in 1981, accruing more than 25 gold albums and membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame
5/18/1950 Songwriter Tom Shapiro is born in Kansas City, Missouri. Among more than 50 hits, he authors Brooks & Dunn’s “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You,” Neal McCoy’s “Wink,” Keith Urban’s “You Look Good In My Shirt” and George Strait’s “Living And Living Well”
5/18/1948 Joe Bonsall is born in Philadelphia. In 1973, the ex-gang member becomes a tenor singer in the gospel quartet The Oak Ridge Boys, who soon shift into country music, using him as a lead voice on such hits as “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue” and “Love Song.” The Oaks join the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015

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