It was on this day in 1957 that country singer Don Gibson sat in his home in a Knoxville, Tennessee trailer park, strumming on his guitar. As the story goes, a repo man had just picked up his vacuum cleaner and television. That afternoon, perhaps inspired by the sadness of being down and out -- or motivated by the same -- he wrote two of the biggest hits of his career: "Oh Lonesome Me" and "I Can't Stop Loving You." By the next year, Gibson would be a major Nashville hitmaker, and appear for the first of many times on the Grand Ole Opry.
"When I wrote those two songs, I couldn't have been any closer to the bottom," he later said. Both tunes have since become oft-covered American standards, selling millions in recordings by everyone from Gibson to Count Basie, Ray Charles to Neil Young.
So here's to you, Don Gibson, and to an afternoon well-spent in a trailer park.
Toby Keith - "Trailerhood" (2010)
Sammy Kershaw - "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" (1993)
Gene Watson - "No Trash in My Trailer" (2001)
Billy Ray Cyrus - "Burn Down the Trailer Park" (2000)
Southern Culture on the Skids - "DoubleWide"
Cowboy Junkies - "Murder, Tonight, in the Trailer Park" (1992)
Roger Miller - "King of the Road" (1964)
...and the two hits inspired by trailer park livin':
June Carter and Don Gibson - "Oh, Lonesome Me"
Don Gibson and the Jordanaires - "I Can't Stop Loving You"
Ray Charles - "I Can't Stop Loving You"