1961 in country music

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This is a list of notable events in country music that took place in 1961.

List of years in country music (table)


No dates[edit]

  • The Country Music Association (CMA) develops and finalizes plans for the new Country Music Hall of Fame, to honor performers and others who were influential in the history of the genre. The first three inductees, honored on November 3, are all posthumous:
    • Jimmie Rodgers, a songwriter who – despite poor health – merged hillbilly and blues music into a revolutionary new sound.
    • Fred Rose, a pioneering song publisher who formed the Acuff-Rose music publishing company in the 1940s. Also a talented songwriter, and record producer/executive.
    • Hank Williams, legendary singer-songwriter whose songs are still sought after today.
With just a $1,500 budget, bronze plaques honoring each of the singers would be cast, a tradition that continues today.
  • Spade Cooley is arrested in connection with the beating death of his second wife, Ella Mae Evans. He is convicted and sentenced to prison. En route to prison, he suffers a heart attack, from which he will recover.

Top hits of the year[edit]

Number one hits[edit]

United States[edit]

(as certified by Billboard)

Date Single Name Artist Wks. No.1 Spec. Note
January 9 North to Alaska Johnny Horton 5 [B]
February 27 Don't Worry Marty Robbins 10
May 8 Hello Walls Faron Young 9
  • Young's first Billboard Number One since "Country Girl" in 1959.
July 10 Heartbreak U.S.A. Kitty Wells 4 [B]
August 7 I Fall to Pieces Patsy Cline 2 [1][A]
August 21 Tender Years George Jones 7 [2]
September 25 Walk on By Leroy Van Dyke 19 [2][C]
November 20 Big Bad John Jimmy Dean 2 [A]
  • [1] No. 1 song of the year, as determined by Billboard.
  • [2] Song dropped from No. 1 and later returned to top spot.
  • [A] First Billboard No. 1 hit for that artist.
  • [B] Last Billboard No. 1 hit for that artist.
  • [C] Only Billboard No. 1 hit for that artist to date.

Other major hits[edit]

US Single Artist
8 Backtrack Faron Young
9 Be Quiet Mind Del Reeves
5 Beggar to a King Hank Snow
18 Big, Big Love Wynn Stewart
7 Big River, Big Man Claude King
16 Black Land Farmer Frankie Miller
4 The Blizzard Jim Reeves
14 Blue Blue Day The Wilburn Brothers
14 Conscience I'm Guilty Rose Maddox
16 Cozy Inn Leon McAuliffe
11 Crazy Bullfrog Lewis Pruitt
15 Did I Ever Tell You George Jones and Margie Singleton
14 Diggy Liggy Lo Rusty & Doug
14 Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die Reno and Smiley
14 Everybody's Dying for Love Jimmy C. Newman
16 Family Bible George Jones
9 Flat Top Cowboy Copas
2 Foolin' Around Buck Owens
15 Forever Gone Ernest Ashworth
20 Forget the Past Faron Young
12 From Here to There to You Hank Locklin
10 Go Home Flatt & Scruggs
11 The Hands You're Holding Now Skeeter Davis
12 Hangover Tavern Hank Thompson
7 Happy Birthday to Me Hank Locklin
5 Heart Over Mind Ray Price
4 Hello Fool Ralph Emery
7 How Do You Talk to a Baby Webb Pierce
5 I Dreamed of a Hill-Billy Heaven Tex Ritter
12 I Love You Best of All The Louvin Brothers
15 I Want to Live Again Rose Maddox
9 I Went Out of My Way (To Make You Happy) Roy Drusky
10 I'd Rather Loan You Out Roy Drusky
4 I'll Just Have a Cup of Coffee (Then I'll Go) Claude Gray
17 In Memory of Johnny Horton Johnny Hardy
3 It's Your World Marty Robbins
11 Kisses Never Lie Carl Smith
14 Kissing My Pillow Rose Maddox
11 Last Date Floyd Cramer
5 Let Forgiveness In Webb Pierce
20 Lonelyville Ray Sanders
4 Loose Talk Buck Owens and Rose Maddox
10 Louisiana Man Rusty & Doug
7 Loving You (Was Worth This Broken Heart) Bob Gallion
8 Mental Cruelty Buck Owens and Rose Maddox
3 My Ears Should Burn (When Fools Are Talked About) Claude Gray
5 My Last Date (With You) Skeeter Davis
7 Odds and Ends (Bits and Pieces) Warren Smith
13 Oh Lonesome Me Johnny Cash
7 Oklahoma Hills Hank Thompson
17 One Grain of Sand Eddy Arnold
14 One Step Ahead of My Past Hank Locklin
20 One Way Street Bob Gallion
10 Optimistic Skeeter Davis
19 The Other Cheek Kitty Wells
11 Please Mr. Kennedy Jim Nesbitt
9 Po' Folks Bill Anderson
12 Polka on a Banjo Flatt & Scruggs
15 Ragged but Right Moon Mullican
11 The Restless One Hank Snow
9 Right or Wrong Wanda Jackson
8 San Antonio Rose Floyd Cramer
2 Sea of Heartbreak Don Gibson
16 Shorty Jimmy Smart
10 Signed Sealed and Delivered Cowboy Copas
20 Sleep, Baby, Sleep Connie Hall
9 Sleepy-Eyed John Johnny Horton
3 Soft Rain Ray Price
16 Stand at Your Window Jim Reeves
12 Sunny Tennessee Cowboy Copas
6 Sweet Dreams Don Gibson
3 Sweet Lips Webb Pierce
20 Sweethearts Again Bob Gallion
20 There Must Be Another Way to Live Kitty Wells
16 Thoughts of a Fool Ernest Tubb
2 Three Hearts in a Tangle Roy Drusky
9 Three Steps to the Phone (Millions of Miles) George Hamilton IV
14 Through That Door Ernest Tubb
13 To You and Yours (From Me and Mine) George Hamilton IV
10 Too Many Times Don Winters
13 Twenty-Fourth Hour Ray Price
2 Under the Influence of Love Buck Owens
9 Walk Out Backwards Bill Anderson
5 Walking the Streets Webb Pierce
15 What Would You Do Jim Reeves
6 When Two Worlds Collide Roger Miller
2 Window Up Above George Jones
8 Wreck on the Highway Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper
14 You Don't Want My Love Roger Miller
4 You're the Reason Bobby Edwards
14 You're the Reason Hank Locklin
16 You're the Reason Joe South
10 Your Old Love Letters Porter Wagoner

Top new album releases[edit]


  • July 1 — Michelle Wright, country star of the 1990s; best known for the hit "Take It Like a Man".
  • July 8 — Toby Keith, country star of the 1990s who became a mega-superstar in the 2000s (decade), thanks to his fusion of honky tonk and rock.
  • August 25 — Billy Ray Cyrus, honky-tonk heartthrob of the 1990s and 2000s (decade), thanks to the huge success of "Achy Breaky Heart".


Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees[edit]

Major awards[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kingsbury, Paul, "The Grand Ole Opry: History of Country Music. 70 Years of the Songs, the Stars and the Stories," Villard Books, Random House; Opryland USA, 1995
  • Kingsbury, Paul, "Vinyl Hayride: Country Music Album Covers 1947–1989," Country Music Foundation, 2003 (ISBN 0-8118-3572-3)
  • Millard, Bob, "Country Music: 70 Years of America's Favorite Music," HarperCollins, New York, 1993 (ISBN 0-06-273244-7)
  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Country Songs 1944–2005 – 6th Edition." 2005.

External links[edit]