Vernon Dalhart, one of the founding fathers of country music, got his start in…New York City opera halls?

You’re listening to Vernon Dalhart with Wreck of The Old 97.  He may have started his career in NYC, but he was all cowboy.  Born Marion Slaughter, he took his stage name from the Texas towns he used to drive cattle between: Vernon and, you guessed it, Dalhart.  When he recorded this song in 1924, it became the best-selling single of its time.  Not only that; it was the best-selling non-holiday record in the first 70 years of recorded music.

The opera/country connection isn’t a … traditionally strong one.  Just imagine: Toby Keith is… Don Giovanni.  Dalhart made the leap, though. He’s a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.