The 11th Grammy Awards was held in Los Angeles on March 12, 1969. The awards recognized accomplishments by artists during the year including that of our country singers. This included the Best Country Vocal Performance (Female), Best Country Performance (Male), Best Country Performance, Duo or Group, and Best Country Song.

The Best Country Vocal Performance – Female

The Best Country Vocal Performance – Female award during the 11th Grammy Awards was given to Jeannie C. Riley for her single “Harper Valley PTA.” 

Riley’s single narrates the story of Mrs. Johnson who has a daughter in Junior High school.  Mrs. Johnson received a letter from her daughter’s PTA secretary. The letter sent was a scolding about the way her daughter dresses which the school deemed inappropriate. She was also called out for her lifestyle of drinking and running around multiple men that alarmed the PTA and said that she wasn’t responsible for raising her daughter.

The letter outraged Mrs. Johnson and in return decided to pay the PTA a surprise visit. Coincidentally, the PTA was having a meeting that afternoon and Mrs. Johnson laid down several of their indiscretions that she had with the group.

  • Bobby Taylor had asked Mrs. Johnson for a date seven times and when rejected, had her wife accusing Mrs. Johnson to be an alcoholic and an adulteress.
  • Mr. Baker had his  secretary pregnant
  •  Widow Jones was an exhibitionist and a nymphomaniac
  • Mr. Harper, who was not there due to staying up late, was in Kelly’s Bar again.
  • Shirley Thompson also has drinking problems and was evident because of the smell of gin in her breath.

Mrs. Johnson then rebukes them for calling her an unfit mother and that the PTA members were a bunch of hypocrites.

The Best Country Vocal Performance – Male

The award was won by Johnny Cash for his song titled “Folsom Prison Blues.” Cash decided to write the song after seeing the movie “Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison” released in 1951.

Standing up for the oppressed was not a common feat for artists back then. Cash championed the oppressed through the different songs he recorded starting with Folsom Prison Blues. The song did not, however, dwell on how bad a person gets punished for his crimes but more on the circumstances which led him to commit atrocious acts.

Best Country Performance – Duo or Group

The award for Best Country Performance – Duo or Group was won by Flatt & Scruggs for their bluegrass song, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

The song was used by the motion picture Bonnie and Clyde during car chase scenes in 1967. The original banjo arrangement would, later on, evolve with the sound of guitars and mandolins.

Best Country Song

The award went to “Little Green Apples” which was a song written by Bobby Russell and Roger Miller in 1968.

Russel wrote “Little Green Apples” together with “Honey” as his experimental compositions. Miller did the song’s first recording on January 24, 1968, in a session with Columbia Records, Nashville. The song was released as a lead single for the album “A Tender Look at Love.”  The song gave Miller his final Top Ten C&W hit and also his final top 40 crossovers hit.

The song was also covered by several artists, such as Patti Page. Page’s cover of the song was later released as a single in June 1968 peaking at the number 11 spot of the Easy Listening and affording Page the final Hot 100 appearance of her career at the 96th spot.

Hats Off to Our Country Singers During the 11th Grammy Awards!

Up to this date, the Grammy awards have recognized outstanding talents and artists that have made a valuable contribution to the music industry. This also recognized songs that have made significant effects on society by breaking norms and barriers.

Furthermore, being awarded a Grammy is one of the biggest feats that an artist could have in his or her entire career.

As for the 1969 awards, songs that resounded in the country music industry have truly been recognized, from the legendary Johnny Cash to the upcoming singers like Jeannie C. Riley and the commencement of a career for Roger Miller.