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Barbara Mandrell

Thanks to a string of hit singles and a popular television variety series, vocalist Barbara Mandrell was arguably the biggest female star in country music in the late '70s and early '80s. Born the oldest daughter into a musical family in Houston, TX, on Christmas Day, 1948, Mandrell was already reading music and playing accordion by the age of five. Just six years later, she was so adept at playing the steel guitar that her father escorted her to a music trade convention in Chicago, where her talents caught the attention of Chet Atkins and Joe Maphis. Soon after, she was a featured performer in Maphis' Las Vegas nightclub show, followed by television performances and tours with Red Foley, Johnny Cash, and Tex Ritter.

When Mandrell was 14, her family formed its own group, with her father Irby on vocals and guitar, her mother Mary Ellen on bass, and Barbara handling pedal steel and saxophone. The band also included drummer Ken Dudney, whom Mandrell would eventually marry. The Mandrells toured the U.S. and Asia before Barbara made her first recordings in 1963, among them the minor hit "Queen for a Day." After a few more years of touring, Mandrell briefly retired in order to become a housewife, but she soon grew restless and returned to the music business. After signing with Columbia in 1969, she notched her first chart hit, a cover of the Otis Redding classic "I've Been Loving You Too Long." In 1970, Mandrell scored the first of many Top 40 hits with "Playin' Around With Love." In the same year, she began performing with singer David Houston, and their partnership also generated considerable chart success.

In 1975, Mandrell jumped to the ABC/Dot label, and under the guidance of producer Tom Collins reached the Top Five for the first time with the single "Standing Room Only." After a series of successive hits, she earned her first number one with 1978's "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed," which was immediately followed by another chart-topper, "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right," in early 1979. Later in the year, "Years" also reached number one, as did three more singles -- "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool," "'Till You're Gone," and "One of a Kind Pair of Fools" -- between 1981 and 1983, a period during which Mandrell also received numerous industry awards and accolades.

In 1980, the TV program Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters premiered on NBC. In addition to hosts Barbara, Louise, and Irlene Mandrell, the show featured musical guests and comedy sketches. Each broadcast also closed with a gospel song, and in 1982 Mandrell released her own inspirational album, He Set My Life to Music. As a result of her busy schedule, she began suffering from vocal strain, and on doctor's orders pulled the plug on the television program in 1982. In 1983, she premiered The Lady Is a Champ, a Las Vegas stage show, and released two LPs, In Black & White and Spun Gold.

A collection of duets with Lee Greenwood, Clean Cut, followed in 1984. Tragedy struck later in the year, however, when Mandrell and two of her children were involved in a nightmarish head-on car crash that left the other driver dead. Though Mandrell and her kids survived, all three faced a long period of recovery. When she finally returned to performing a year later, the country music landscape had changed dramatically, with the "new traditionalist" movement gaining dominance while the glitzier, more pop-influenced music Mandrell favored began falling out of favor. As the 1980s became the 1990s, she began focusing almost exclusively on live performing, where she remained a significant draw; she also published her autobiography, Get to the Heart: My Story. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Her voice/music was played to me while in a coma. Helped me recover as well as soothed my family, as they watched me recover.
This is the real thing, when it comes to country music.Todays pop country sucks when compared to the old school.
I saw her in concert back in the early 80's along with Steve Wariner (who also shares the same birthday with her) - knowing that is how I won free tickets to the show. Also, I used to work with a guy that was such good friends with her husband (Ken Dudney) while they were in the service and my friend Paul was in their wedding. Small world. Plus, when I was collecting vinyl, I had nearly every alum that Barbara had ever put out. A very talented lady!!!
Has always and will always be my all-time favorite! Beautiful, giving and so amazingly talented - musical perfection!
rickrnaz
She was always a class act. Her band and back up singers were alway dressed to perfection. Not like todays performers.
Barbara God gave you a gift to be shared with the many fans that love you. Sing country & gospel from your heart as always. Your missed!!
rodwyrod
Miss you Barbara would love to see you in las one more time!!!!
gigemlala
Don't read this because it atually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life tommorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this comment to at least 3 songs you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary because it actually works.
karmapatty2
70 's Country artists were the best.
Love her music miss her and many more
djc4
I miss her alot
One of my favorite Country Women. A honest class act.
Very talented and beautiful lady. Wish she would join the other great country musicians on Country Reunion. I would love to see her again
she is one of the best they need to bring her kind of country back to radio this new age stuff is not all that some is okay but the old stuff is ALOT better !
wltrbuckley4 8 7
always been in love with her
davebracey
I am a huge fan and I love her Precious Memories gospel album.
pate936
i miss her !!!!
takeitorleav e i t 9 2 0 6 5
barbara mandrell is a great country singer
ajkruschke
Barbara Mandrell is by far one of the classiest Ladies in Music. She will always be number one with me.
syoggerst
I love Barbara Mandrell, she is the Best!!
jhbates
I am looking for I Love You, I Love you--a beautiful duet sung with David Houston.
She is a great singer, and she is my wifes favorite artist.
stuckgm
I love Barbara Mandrell! She was one of my favorites! Her and Reba, I miss her...the two best!
I when was coutrny when coutrny wanstn't cool
tsizemore7
BEAUTIFUL WOMAN; UNMISTAKABLE VOICE;
dont like this artist
paregan
The Our House To Yours album, has the most touching Christmas song, Born To Die. I cry every time this song is played. I would love to have any of her Christmas music available on Pandora for my Christmas station.
mcmorton
Wish her Christmas Album were here. Loved it!
Is her gospel record in print still?(He set my life to music)
Barbara is my all time favorite!
I love to hear her sing. She's so talented with so many instruments.
I really love her music. I enjoyed the show that she was in with her sisters!!!!
bstapl2006
she is the greatist!!!!

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