October in Kentucky Country Music History

Here are a few notable things that happened during the month of October in Kentucky Country Music History:

Oct 1, 1935: Singer/guitarist Ray Sanders is born in St. John, Kentucky. He lands on the country charts more than 10 times in the 1960s and ’70s as an artist and plays on the Ray Price hits “The Same Old Me” and “Under Your Spell Again.”

Oct 1, 1995: Willie Nelson presents the 10th anniversary Farm Aid in Louisville, with John Mellencamp, Neil Young, John Conlee, Steve Earle, Tom Wopat, Radney Foster, Kris Kristofferson, The Dave Matthews Band, BlackHawk and Hootie + The Blowfish.

Oct 2, 1952: Shelia Shipley Biddy is born in Scottsville, Kentucky. In 1993, she becomes the first woman named to head a major country label when MCA re-activates Decca.

Oct 2, 2003: The Del McCoury Band wins Entertainer of the Year for the eighth time during the International Bluegrass Music Association awards in Louisville, Kentucky.

Oct 4, 2001: Rhonda Vincent and the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” are the top winners in the International Bluegrass Music Association awards at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville.

Oct 5, 2001: Wynonna Judd performs a pair of shows on the military base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to support the troops in the wake of an imminent war with Afghanistan.

Oct 6, 1922: James Howard Young is born in a one-room home in Metcalfe County, Kentucky. Two of his sons, Richard Young and Fred Young, will become founding members of the country band The Kentucky HeadHunters.

Oct 6, 1935: Songwriter Kendall Hayes is born in Perryville, Kentucky. He writes Leroy Van Dyke’s 1961 country hit “Walk On By.”

Oct 7, 1922: Hugh Cherry is born in Louisville, Kentucky. He becomes an influential air personality on country stations in Nashville and Los Angeles, emerging among the first six inductees in the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in 1977.

Oct 8, 1953: Anthony Kenney is born in Glasgow, Kentucky. He takes over as the bass player for The Kentucky HeadHunters when Doug Phelps and Ricky Lee Phelps leave to form their own duo in 1992.

Oct 9, 1998: A Kentucky judge rules in John Michael’s Montgomery favor, saying he did not need consent to use images of his father in the video to “I Miss You A Little.” Montgomery’s mother filed the suit.

Oct 10, 1923: Fiddler and banjo player Minnie “Susie” Ledford is born in Powell County, Kentucky. She joins sisters Lily May and Rosie Ledford in the all-female stringband The Coon Creek Girls when the group undergoes a lineup change in 1939.

Oct 10, 1950: Songwriter Tim Krekel is born in Louisville, Kentucky. Twice a member of Jimmy Buffett’s band, he authors Crystal Gayle’s “Turning Away” and Patty Loveless’ “You Can Feel Bad.”

Oct 14, 1946: Grandpa Jones marries Ramona Riggins in Henderson, Kentucky.

Oct 14, 1990: Willie Nelson plays a campaign fundraiser for Democrat Gatewood Galbraith at the Louisville Gardens. The Kentucky gubernatorial candidate holds a position important to Nelson: he favors the legalization of marijuana.

Oct 15, 1925: Guitarist Mickey Baker is born in Louisville, Kentucky. As part of the duo Mickey And Sylvia, he sings on the 1957 pop hit “Love Is Strange.” He also authors a Jim Reeves country hit, “Two Shadows On Your Window.”

Oct 15, 1980: Bobby Lester, who sang lead on The Moonglows’ 1955 R&B hit “Sincerely,” dies of cancer in Louisville, Kentucky. The song is remade for the country charts in 1988 by The Forester Sisters.

Oct 16, 2009: Eddie Montgomery serves as an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team when the University of Kentucky Wildcats hold the Big Blue Madness scrimmage at Lexington’s Rupp Arena.

Oct 17, 1992: Chet Atkins performs at the dedication of an outhouse at a Gravel Switch, Kentucky, store that previously had no toilet. “I think it’s something that’s needed,” Atkins quips, “and it’s certainly an improvement over what they had.”

Oct 18, 1976: Loretta Lynn is named a Kentucky Colonel.

Oct 19, 2000: The Del McCoury Band is named Entertainer of the Year a fourth consecutive time at the International Bluegrass Music Association awards in Louisville, Kentucky.

Oct 20, 1913: Banjo-playing comic Louis Marshall Jones is born in Niagara, Kentucky. Under the stage name Grandpa Jones, he amasses 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry member and becomes a longtime cast member on the satirical TV show “Hee Haw.”

Oct 20, 2017: Jason Aldean donates $3.6 million to Susan G. Komen during his annual Concert For The Cure at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.

Oct 21, 2011: Songwriter/producer Norro Wilson is inducted in Western Kentucky University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in Bowling Green.

Oct 22, 1982: Fiddler Bert Layne dies in Kentucky. A member of Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, he played on the 1926 recording “Bully Of The Town,” ranked among country’s greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation book “Heartaches By The Number.”

Oct 22, 1982: Fiddler Bert Layne dies in Kentucky. A member of Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, he played on the 1926 recording “Bully Of The Town,” ranked among country’s greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation book “Heartaches By The Number.”

Oct 22, 1998: Ricky Skaggs wins a pair of trophies at the ninth annual International Bluegrass Music Association awards at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville.

Oct 22, 2011 :Stella Parton performs for demonstrators during a Stop the War on Coal rally at the Knott County Sportsplex near Leburn, Kentucky.

Oct 23, 2014: Randy Owen is featured in a new campaign ad supporting Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell. The spot uses an acoustic version of “Mountain Music.”

Oct 23, 1956: Dwight Yoakam is born in Pikeville, Kentucky. With an edgy vocal style and a proclivity for roots music, he becomes one of country’s most creative forces, augmenting such iconic hits as “Honky Tonk Man,” “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” and “Fast As You” with a side career as an actor.

Oct 23, 1971: Kentucky observes Pee Wee King Day.

Oct 25, 2008: The ABC-TV special “Sugarland: Live On The Inside” is shot during a concert at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Support acts during the evening include Kellie Pickler and Ashton Shepherd.

Oct 26, 1936: Elmo Shropshire is born in Lexington, Kentucky. He becomes one-half of the duo Elmo & Patsy, whose Christmas novelty “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” emerges as a weird annual tradition beginning in 1979.

Oct 26, 1937: W.H. Stepp records “Bonaparte’s Retreat” in Lakeville, Kentucky.

Oct 27, 1922: Cellist Byron Bach is born in Jackson, Kentucky. He becomes a popular session musician, appearing in the string section on such hits as Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden,” Tom T. Hall’s “I Love” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me.”

Oct 28, 1857: J.B. Monroe is born in Ohio County, Kentucky. As an adult, he fathers bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe.

Oct 28, 1948: Pop singer Telma Hopkins is born in Louisville, Kentucky. She becomes a member of Tony Orlando & Dawn, appearing on “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Old Oak Tree,” covered for the country charts in 1973 by Johnny Carver.

Oct 29, 1937: Sonny Osborne is born in Hyden, Kentucky. With sibling Bobby, he forms The Osborne Brothers, a bluegrass act that joins the Grand Ole Opry in 1964. The Country Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year for 1971, the Osbornes are best known for “Rocky Top.”

Oct 30, 1937: Johnny Wright marries Kitty Wells in Franklin, Kentucky. Given that the event occurs Halloween Eve, Wright frequently tells friends: “Kitty didn’t know whether she got tricked or treated–maybe she got spooked.”

Oct 30, 1971: Loretta Lynn performs for 15,000 people at a political rally in Somerset, Kentucky, for governor Louie Nunn and president Richard Nixon.

Oct 30, 1993: Bob Atcher dies at his home in Prospect, Kentucky. Mayor of Schaumburg, Illinois, from 1959-1975, he spent most of his career on Chicago radio stations, where he worked on “The National Barn Dance,” while scoring several national hits.

Oct 31, 1921: Malissa Monroe dies at the family home near Rosine, Kentucky. No one bothers to tell 10-year-old Bill Monroe his mother is dead until after she’s already been buried.

Jessica Blankenship

Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians.  Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County's Ten Under 40 Award Recipients.  In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky.  She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more.  Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.

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