Tanya Tucker is the veritable bad girl in country music. “Bad” might be relative, though. But back then, country fans weren’t accustomed to seeing their artists so sexy and free. Tanya was only 13 when her song “Delta Dawn” (1972) reached No. 6 on the country charts.
She continued creating hits that evoked mixed feelings. Fans loved the songs, but the themes seemed too “adult” for someone her age. She paid no mind to haters. To date, Tanya’s had top-10 and top-40 hits and won a Grammy as well as several CMA nominations. She has also launched her own tequila brand, Cosa Salvaje.
Anne Murray’s songs have appealed to music lovers over her 40-year career. Her first hit was “Snowbird” in 1970, which reached No. 1 on the U.S. charts. She became the first Canadian artist to achieve the feat. Anne became a superstar in 1978 with her single “You Needed Me.”
The song’s release marked the beginning of a successful run. She released several hit singles in 1979, including "I’ll Just Fall in Love Again" and "Shadows in the Moonlight.” She retired in 2018. Overall, the songstress racked up four Grammys, 24 Junos (a record), three AMAs, three CMAs, and three Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
Sammi Smith was one of the few artists who took country music outside the hallowed halls of Nashville. Sammi signed with Columbia Records in 1967, where she first met a janitor named Kris Kristofferson.
Her initial days at Columbia saw moderate success. In the ‘70s, she released a single called “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” written by her friend, Kris. The song shot to the top of the country charts, eventually earning the singer a Grammy in 1972. Sammi recorded seven more albums and at least 16 songs that stayed on the charts. Sadly, Sammi died at her Oklahoma home in 2005.
Dottie West’s music career kicked off in the ‘60s with her Grammy-award winning single, “Here Comes My Baby Back Again.” Dottie later paired up with Kenny Rogers, and together, they sang duets that became country classics.
But it was only in the ‘70s that Dottie came into her own as a solo artist. She began adding more pop elements into her songwriting, and everyone got on board with a new Dottie. In 1980, “Lesson in Leavin’” reached No. 1 on the charts – her first as a solo artist. Sadly, Dottie passed away in a car accident in 1991.
Fans knew Tammy as the “First Lady of Country Music” – but the singer struggled in the early days. She faced a string of rejections from almost every record label. Tammy almost gave up on the dream until meeting producer, Billy Sherril who helped kickstart her career.
Her first Number One was “I Don’t Wanna Play House” in 1967, followed by five successive chart toppers. Her most popular track was “Stand by Your Man.” Tammy ruled the country music charts in the ‘70s. The country music icon died in 1998 due to cardiac arrhythmia.