Category Archives: ***

August 13 – Vernon Dalhart


Texas native singer-songwriter/borrower Vernon Dalhart records ballad Wreck of the Old 97 for Edison. It becomes a runaway hit. (Victor # 19427) Aud

Dalhart moved to NYC in 1910 hoping for an opera career, then began recording in 1916. The song about the Sep 27 1903 derailment of a Southern Railway Fast Mail train near Danville, VA — written, it later turned out, by David Graves George — is country’s first million-seller and the first Southern song to become a national success, selling an unheard-of 7M copies.

In the same year he records The Prisoner’s Song; it spends 12 weeks at US#1 in 1925-26. Both songs will be covered by many later, major stars.

During the ’20s and ’30s, Dalhart uses over 100 pseudonyms to record thousands of 78-rpm singles. In 1981, Dalhart, shut down by The Depression and dead in 1948, is inducted into the Country HoF.

▸ MeFi: The first country star ▸ Dalhart discog

See also: Henry Whitter


RIP Natalie Cole

RIP singer Natalie Cole, daughter of Nat King Cole, on Dec 31, 2015. Natalie won nine Grammys, including six for 1991 album Unforgettable … With Love. It

paid tribute to her father with reworked versions of some of his best-known songs, including “That Sunday That Summer,” “Too Young” and “Mona Lisa.” Her voice was spliced with her dad’s in the title cut, offering a delicate duet a quarter-century after his death. – ABC News