The Day Texas Swing Died – Today In Country Music History [VIDEO]
December 3rd, 1973
Bob Wills holds what proves to be his final recording session at the Sumet-Burnet Studio in Dallas. He suffers a stroke during the night, and The Texas Playboys record the next day without him.
Considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing, Wills was universally known as the King of Western Swing (after the death of Spade Cooley who used the moniker "King Of Western Swing" from 1942 to 1969).
Wills began his career performing in Fort Worth, Tx. While in Ft. Worth, Wills added the "rowdy city blues" of artists like Bessie Smith and Emmett Miller to a repertoire of mainly waltzes and breakdowns he had learned from his father, and patterned his vocal style after that of Miller and other performers such as Al Bernard. Wills acknowledged that he idolized Miller; his 1935 version of "St. Louis Blues" is nearly a word-for-word copy of Al Bernard's patter on his 1928 recording of the same song.
With jazz sophistication, pop music and blues influence, plus improvised scat and wisecrack commentary by Wills, the Texas Playboys became the first superstars of the genre. Session rosters from 1938 show both "lead guitar" and "electric guitar" in addition to guitar and steel guitar in the Texas Playboys recordings.Wills' 1938 recording of "Ida Red" served as a model for Chuck Berry's decades later version of the same song - "Maybellene".
Wills' style influenced performers Buck Owens and Merle Haggard and helped to spawn a style of music now known as the Bakersfield Sound (Bakersfield, California was one of Wills' regular stops in his heyday). A 1970 tribute album by Haggard directed a wider audience to Wills' music, as did the appearance of younger "revival" bands like Asleep at the Wheel and the growing popularity of longtime Wills disciple and fan Willie Nelson. By 1971, Wills recovered sufficiently to travel occasionally and appear at tribute concerts.
In 1973 he participated in a final reunion session with members of some the Texas Playboys from the 1930s to the 1960s. Merle Haggard was invited to play at this reunion. The session, scheduled for two days, took place in December 1973, with the album to be titled For The Last Time. Wills, speaking or attempting to holler, appeared on a couple tracks from the first day's session but suffered a stroke overnight. He had a more severe one a few days later. The musicians completed the album without him. Wills by then was comatose. He lingered until his death on May 13, 1975.
Dolly Parton and Smokey Robinson are awarded Kennedy Center Honors in a Washington, D.C., event attended by president George W. Bush. Also recognized are Steven Spielberg and theatrical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber
Shania Twain’s album The Woman In Me was certified multi-platinum for sales of 11 million copies. 8 singles were released from the album worldwide, including “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” (#11), “You Win My Love” (#1) and “Any Man of Mine” (#1).
The album has since been certified 12x platinum by the RIAA and has shipped more than 20 million copies worldwide.
Merle Haggard’s album Okie From Muskogee was certified platinum. The album featured 6 #1 singles: “Mama Tried”, “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive”, “Sing Me Back Home”, “Branded Man”, “Workin’ Man Blues” and the title track.
Kenny Rogers’ album What About Me became his 11th to achieve platinum status. The album featured two singles, the title track (#70 on the Country Charts, but went to #1 on the A/C Easy Listening Chart and #15 on the Hot 100 chart) and was co-written by Rogers, David Foster and Richard Marx, and “Crazy” (#1), which was co-written by Rogers and pop singer Marx.
The Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton holiday album Once Upon A Christmas was certified golden and platinum.
2011 – Brantley Gilbert – “Country Must Be Country Wide”
2005 – Dierks Bentley – “Come A Little Closer”
1994 – George Strait – “The Big One”
1988 – Reba McEntire – “I Know How He Feels”
1983 – Anne Murray – “A Little Good News”
1977 – Dolly Parton – “Here You Come Again”
1966 – Eddy Arnold – “Somebody Like Me”
1955 – Webb Pierce – “Love, Love, Love”
1949 – Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely – “Slipping Around”
2011 – Scotty McCreary – Clear As Day
2005 – Carrie Underwood – Some Hearts
1994 – George Strait – Lead On
1988 – Ricky Van Shelton – Loving Proof
1983 – Kenny Rogers – Eyes That See In The Dark
1977 – Elvis Presley – Elvis In Concert
1966 – Connie Smith – Born To Sing
Bassist Paul Gregg of (Restless Heart) is 60.
Singer Ferlin Husky is born on this date in 1927 in Flat River, Missouri. His 1956 single "Gone" establishes the Nashville Sound. He also has a landmark with the gospel-themed "Wings Of A Dove" and enters the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
Huskey passed from complications of congestive heart failure in 2011.