Gram Parsons dies at 26 after taking a shot of liquid morphine in his room at Joshua Tree Inn. Parsons had been recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, but relapsed during his trip to Joshua Tree National Park. “He was clean and took a strong shot,” his friend Keith Richards says. “It’s the one mistake you don’t want to make.”
George Strait releases his debut album — Strait Country — on September 4, 1981. The album was released by MCA Records but only after dipping their feet in the water with one song — “Unwound.” It rocketed up the country charts and soon, MCA offered George his first record contract to finish the album. They continue the relationship some 30 albums later.
Shakey releases his “country” album on August 12, 1985. It took a while until after he settled a beef with Geffen Records. Neil did the album while under the Geffen label but they didn’t want “country” Neil .. they wanted “rock ‘n roll” Neil. Shakey won in court, wrote a few more tunes to finish out the album and got some friends to help with the recording: Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bela Fleck, Marty Stuart and more.
Years ago, the legendary steel guitar player Don Helms said to me, “Hoss, if you start liking that hand-tooled leather stuff, all of a sudden everything you see needs it.” Helms went on to say, “I went to see the Statue of Liberty with Hank Williams when we played New York City one time. We were standing there looking at it and I told Hank, ‘Wouldn’t it be pretty if the whole base of that thing was covered in leather and hand-tooled like a western saddle?’
Well, if it is ever decided that such a thing is to happen, I know exactly who should be called. His name is Terry Lankford.
When Eddie Stubbs wasn’t at the Opry, he had a long-running radio show at WSM, where he interviewed many of the greats of country music, from Ray Price and Reba McEntire to Merle Haggard and Marty Stuart.
Many toss around the “Legend” term but this guy earned it. I’ll miss the voice and the incredible knowledge of country music. Well done, Eddie. Thank you!