1989 in country music
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This is a list of notable events in country music that took place in the year 1989.
- May 9 – Rising country star Keith Whitley is found dead at his home, a victim of alcohol poisoning. News of his death sent shockwaves through the industry, given that he had been hailed as a future superstar who helped bring neotraditionalism to the forefront during the 1980s. His widow, Lorrie Morgan, would become a major superstar after his death.
- 1989 was one of two years during the 1980s which sprouted the most prolific class of newcomers in country music history (1986 being the other), a trend that had not been seen since the mid-1950s (when artists such as Elvis Presley, George Jones and Johnny Cash first rose to fame). Clint Black was at the head of the class early on, given that he had two of the year's most memorable singles – "A Better Man" and "Killin' Time" – and one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year (Killin' Time), and was already selling out shows nationwide. Garth Brooks, however, proved to be the 1989 newcomer that stood head and shoulders above everyone else, eventually selling millions of albums, taking worldwide tours and creating some of the most influential music of the 1990s and beyond.
- Another newcomer, Alan Jackson, had a minor hit with his first release in the autumn of that year with "Blue Blooded Woman;" future singles – all featuring the neotraditional style, would do considerably better, to say the least. Travis Tritt contributed with his brand of rock-influenced country, while Lorrie Morgan (daughter of Grand Ole Opry legend George Morgan) became a star in her own right following the alcohol-poisoning death of her husband, Keith Whitley.
- Other top newcomers of the year were Suzy Bogguss, Lionel Cartwright and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Top hits of the yearEdit
Singles released by American artistsEdit
Singles released by Canadian artistsEdit
|—||10||As Long as We Both Shall Love||Carroll Baker|
|—||8||Blue Jeans Boy||J. K. Gulley|
|—||15||C-Luv Radio||Mike Terry|
|—||7||Cowboy in Your Heart||Gary Fjellgaard|
|—||12||The Cowboy Thing To Do||Bootleg|
|—||7||Do Right by Me||Michelle Wright|
|—||10||Donna Lee||Greg Paul|
|—||20||Don't You Cry For Me||The Ellis Family Band|
|—||19||Fiddle Texas Style||Cindi Cain|
|22||1||Full Moon Full of Love||k.d. lang|
|—||20||How Long||Blue Rodeo|
|—||9||I Didn't Know You||Audie Henry|
|—||10||I Think That I'll Be Needing You||Cindi Cain|
|—||7||I Wish I Were Only Lonely||Michelle Wright|
|28||9||If I Ever Fall in Love Again||Anne Murray with Kenny Rogers|
|—||13||In My Dreams||Laura Vinson|
|—||17||Just a Place Where Mem'ries Live||Cindi Cain|
|—||8||Let's Build A Life Together||Family Brown|
|—||16||Long Distance||George Fox|
|—||12||Love With a Capital "L"||Murray McLauchlan|
|—||19||The Lucky Ones||Willie P. Bennett|
|—||10||The Moon Is Out to Get Me||Gary Fjellgaard with Linda Kidder|
|—||16||Old Broken Heart||Greg Paul|
|—||7||Rock Me Gently||Michelle Wright|
|—||10||Someday I'm Gonna Ride in a Cadillac||Matt Minglewood|
|—||9||The Tip of My Fingers||Anita Perras|
|—||15||Train of Life||Great Western Orchestra|
Top new album releasesEdit
Other top albumsEdit
- Hee Haw (1969–1993, syndicated)
- January 30 - Devin Dawson, country singer-songwriter known for his 2018 hit "All on Me".
- March 10 – Rachel Reinert, member of Gloriana.
- March 20 – Lindsay Ell, Canadian country singer of the 2010s.
- August 28 – Cassadee Pope, lead singer of pop rock band Hey Monday, turned country singer; winner of the third season of The Voice
- December 13 – Taylor Swift, teen star who quickly enjoyed major crossover success by the end of the 2000s decade.
- February 4 – Kenneth C. "Jethro" Burns, 68, of the Homer and Jethro comedy duo.
- March 8 – Stuart Hamblen, 80, one of radio's first country music superstars, whose later works reflected his religious convictions.
- May 9 – Keith Whitley, 33, honky tonk-styled singer who rose to fame in the mid-1980s (alcohol poisoning)
- August 25 – Al Cherney, 56, Albertan fiddler
- September 23 – Bradley Kincaid, 94, Singer and Guitarist who started his career in 1927 in Chicago over WLS Radio, performing the traditional mountain ballads he had learned during his boyhood in Kentucky, he soon became the genre's first Multimedia superstar. He collected, recorded, and published many of the old Folk ballads, thereby preserving them for posterity. (Automobile Accident).
Hall of Fame inducteesEdit
Country Music Hall of Fame inducteesEdit
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inducteesEdit
- Best Female Country Vocal Performance – Absolute Torch and Twang, k.d. lang
- Best Male Country Vocal Performance – Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Lyle Lovett
- Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal – Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
- Best Country Collaboration with Vocals – "There's a Tear in My Beer", Hank Williams and Hank Williams, Jr.
- Best Country Instrumental Performance – "Amazing Grace", Randy Scruggs
- Best Country Song – "After All This Time", Rodney Crowell
- Best Bluegrass Recording – "The Valley Road", Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Bruce Hornsby
- Country Male Vocalist of the Year – George Fox
- Country Female Vocalist of the Year – k.d. lang
- Country Group or Duo of the Year – Family Brown
Academy of Country MusicEdit
- Entertainer of the Year – George Strait
- Song of the Year – "Where've You Been", Jon Vezner and Don Henry (Performer: Kathy Mattea)
- Single of the Year – "A Better Man", Clint Black
- Album of the Year – Killin' Time, Clint Black
- Top Male Vocalist – Clint Black
- Top Female Vocalist – Kathy Mattea
- Top Vocal Duo – The Judds
- Top Vocal Group – Restless Heart
- Top New Male Vocalist – Clint Black
- Top New Female Vocalist – Mary Chapin Carpenter
- Top New Vocal Duo or Group – The Kentucky Headhunters
- Video of the Year – "There's a Tear in My Beer", Hank Williams, Jr. and Hank Williams (Director: Ethan Russell)
(presented in Sydney on March 6, 1989)
Canadian Country Music AssociationEdit
- Entertainer Artist of the Year – k.d. lang
- Male Artist of the Year – Gary Fjellgaard
- Female Artist of the Year – k.d. lang
- Group of the Year – Family Brown
- SOCAN Song of the Year – "Town of Tears", Barry Brown, Randall Prescott, Bruce Campbell (Performer: Family Brown)
- Single of the Year – "Town of Tears", Family Brown
- Album of the Year – Shadowland, k.d. lang
- Top Selling Album – Old 8×10, Randy Travis
- Vista Rising Star Award – George Fox
- Duo of the Year – Gary Fjellgaard and Linda Kidder
Country Music AssociationEdit
- Entertainer of the Year – George Strait
- Song of the Year – "Chiseled in Stone", Max D. Barnes and Vern Gosdin (Performer: Vern Gosdin)
- Single of the Year – "I'm No Stranger to the Rain", Keith Whitley
- Album of the Year – Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
- Male Vocalist of the Year – Ricky Van Shelton
- Female Vocalist of the Year – Kathy Mattea
- Vocal Duo of the Year – The Judds
- Vocal Group of the Year – Highway 101
- Horizon Award – Clint Black
- Music Video of the Year – "There's a Tear in My Beer", Hank Williams, Jr. and Hank Williams (Director: Ethan Russell)
- Vocal Event of the Year – Hank Williams, Jr. and Hank Williams
- Musician of the Year – Johnny Gimble
- 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.