May 30, 2008
She was the daughter of songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson. Raised in California, she witnessed the West Coast country music scene when it was most vital. But in her early years, she was as likely to perform with a horse as she was with a microphone, winning the California Horse Show Queen title in 1966.
At that time, her mom was scoring some hits on the country charts, so daughter followed mother into the music business. She recorded for the small label Chart, and found success quickly. After scoring hits with “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)” and “Promises, Promises”, she was named the then-regional ACM’s Top Female Vocalist in 1968. Her album Promises, Promises went to #1, and in 1969, just missed the top spot with her single “That’s a No No.”
Her success on Chart caught the attention of Columbia Records, who coaxed her away from the smaller label in 1970. But before she left, she recorded “Rocky Top”, which wasn’t a huge chart hit but became one of her signature songs, not to mention an official state song of Tennessee. Only five months later, Anderson became a superstar when she released the mega-hit “Rose Garden.” With its dramatic strings and “I beg your pardon…” hook, the song exploded in both the country and pop markets. It was a gold single and the title track of a platinum album. The song won her a Grammy the following year, and she was named Female Vocalist by both the CMA and the now-national ACM.
The crossover appeal of “Rose Garden” broadened Anderson’s audience, and Anderson became one of the first country artists to become a regular on the Hollywood talk and variety show circuits. Her country hits had an extra coat of pop sheen, and in the early seventies, she was as popular as any female artist had ever been in country music. She had #1 singles with “You’re My Man”, “Keep Me in Mind”, “How Can I Unlove You” and “What a Man, My Man Is”, and her 1972 hit “Cry” became a country classic, later revived by Crystal Gayle in the eighties.
Anderson stayed with Columbia throughout the seventies and early eighties, adopting a sexier image at the dawn of the me decade. By then her hit run has slowed down, but her enduring popularity made her a top draw on the road. She briefly retired, but was back in 1983 with the appropriately titled album Back. A duet with Gary Morris from the project, “You’re Welcome to Tonight”, became her final top ten hit.
Throughout the eighties and nineties, Anderson focused on her charity work and equestrian interests, recording only sporadically. In 2004, she followed the lead of many veteran artists and recorded a bluegrass album called The Bluegrass Sessions. Her next release, Western Girl, swept the Academy of Western Awards in 2007, where she won Best Female Vocalist, Best Western CD and Best Western Swing CD.
- “Rocky Top”, 1970
- “Rose Garden”, 1970
- “You’re My Man”, 1971
- “How Can I Unlove You”, 1971
- “Cry”, 1972
- Promises, Promises, 1968
- Rose Garden, 1970
- You’re My Man, 1971
- Cry, 1972
- ACM Top Female Vocalist, 1968 & 1971
- CMA Female Vocalist, 1971
- Grammy: Best Female Country Vocal Performance (“Rose Garden), 1971