Dec. 19: This lively number from the summer of 1950 celebrated Nashville’s new, spreading-like-wildfire nickname — and the conditions that led WSM announcer David Cobb to coin it. Click on the player above to hear a song that I’ll bet is new to most of you.

I can’t find much info about Stratton, apparently a Nashville hillbilly singer who later moved into rockabilly. Anyone who knows more, please add a comment on the blog (not the Facebook page). The record was released on the tiny Dixie Jamboree label, prompting this lukewarm review from Billboard magazine:

As for the story of how the phrase “Music City U.S.A.” came to be, read about it in this Google Books excerpt of the book Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City, by Craig Havighurst. Scroll down to about the middle of Page 156 to find the sentence beginning “This was the highly charged atmosphere …,” and read to the end of the section on Page 157.

David Cobb died on this date in 1988, just weeks before the 39th anniversary of perhaps the most inspired ad-lib in the history of radio.

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