Happy Birthday Vernon Dalhart
On April 6, 1883, Marion G. Slaughter was born in Jefferson, Texas. He went on to be one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of so-called hillbilly music, which pre-dated country music.
He wrote hundreds of country songs under the pseudonym Vernon Dalhart, made up from the names of two Texas towns in which he had punched cattle as a teenager. He recorded the first country song to sell one million copies.
Originally, he wanted to be an opera singer, and in 1913 he got parts in Madame Butterfly and H.M.S. Pinafore. He saw an advertisement in the local newspaper for singers and applied. He was auditioned by Thomas Alva Edison and went on to record for Edison Records.
From 1916 until 1923, he made more than 400 recordings of light classical music and early dance band vocals for various record labels. In the 1920s and 1930s, he sang on more than 5,000 singles for many labels.
Dalhart died September 14, 1948, at the age of 65.