100 Greatest Women, #97: The Forester Sisters

100 Greatest Women: 10th Anniversary Edition

#97

The Forester Sisters

2008 Ranking: #86 (-11)

In the wake of the massive success of mother-daughter duo The Judds, female family acts experienced something of a mini-boom in the mid-to-late eighties. The most successful of those that followed Wynonna and Naomi were The Forester Sisters, a quartet from Georgia with sweet harmonies and simple songs of love.

The group found quick success after signing with Warner Bros. in 1984, having been discovered while performing at an Arts festival. Out of the box success was still a rarity in those days, but in the depressed post-Urban Cowboy era of country music, they found a receptive audience. Their self-titled debut album produced four hit singles, more than were usually even released from an album in those days. The first, “(That’s What You Do) When You’re in Love”, stopped at #10, but their next three singles topped the charts, making them the first group in history to accomplish that feat. In the two decades since, only the Dixie Chicks have managed to repeat it.

The group never quite matched the success of that first album, but continued to rack up top ten hits over the next five years, including a #1 duet with The Bellamy Brothers, “Too Much is Not Enough.” In 1987, they enjoyed their final solo #1 hit, “You Again”, and took home the ACM award for Top Vocal Group.

They were a radio mainstay until the new country boom exploded in 1989, and they suddenly found their hitmaking machine in a lower gear. The simple production that had contrasted so nicely with the overwrought pop sound of early eighties country now sounded timid and quaint next to the muscular sound that was now dominating country radio, courtesy of Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and others. However, the group did score one more hit, “Men”, in 1991, and though it only peaked at #8, it remains a signature hit and is their most frequently downloaded song. The snarky feminist anthem has even been used on The Rush Limbaugh Show when introducing his feminist-bashing segments.

The fading of their country career led The Forester Sisters to expand into gospel music, where they have found a receptive audience. They now self-produce and self-release their music through their website, while putting most of their energy into raising their families, all of which live in the Lookout Mountain, Georgia town that they left during their youth to pursue their musical ambitions. In 2013, the quartet was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Essential Singles

  • “I Fell in Love Again Last Night” (1985)
  • “Mama’s Never Seen Those Eyes” (1986)
  • “(I’d Choose) You Again” (1987)
  • “Men” (1991)

Essential Albums

  • The Forester Sisters (1985)
  • Sincerely (1988)
  • Talkin’ ‘Bout Men (1991)

Industry Awards

  • Academy of Country Music Awards
    • Top Vocal Group, 1987

100 Greatest Women: 10th Anniversary Edition

Next: #96. Rhiannon Giddens

Previous: #98. Gretchen Wilson

4 Comments

  1. I wish their albums weren’t out of print so I could actually buy them. I have two of them but I’d like to complete my collection as I really enjoy the two I do have.

  2. I am enjoying this feature so much. It’s getting me to revisit a lot of fine music.

    I had been generally aware of who The Forester Sisters were for some time, but I’ve been listening to them a lot since this post went up. Some of the arrangements are a bit dated, but oh my, those harmonies are lovely.

  3. I love that not only are they from Georgia, but two of the sisters are now interior designers. Like they watched Designing Women on their tour bus back in the day and made that their backup plan.

  4. Like many other artists who were popular from the 80’s to early 90’s, the Forester Sisters’ music takes me back to my early childhood. I don’t even mind the 80’s production on their songs because it just takes me back to an innocent and simpler time. Also, those harmonies were simply gorgeous, and some of the best in the genre, imo . Two of my biggest favorites from them are “Mama’s Never Seen Those Eyes” and “I Fell In Love Again Last Night.”

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