1989 in country music

1989 In Country Music

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.

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  • 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. However, Garth Brooks 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 that fall, "Blue Blooded Woman;" future singles – all featuring the neotraditional style, would do considerably better, to say the......

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