Tag Archives: Harlan Howard

100 Greatest Women, #7: Patsy Cline

100 Greatest Women

#7

Patsy Cline

There are few women in the history of popular music as revered as Patsy Cline, one of the few country legends who has transcended the status of a singer and become a pop culture icon. Almost all of her classic recordings were created in a three-year span, and she only released three albums in her lifetime. However, her fame has grown exponentially since her career was tragically cut short, leaving behind questions of the music that might have been, but also immortally preserving her in her musical prime.

Cline hailed from Virginia, the daughter of a blacksmith and a seamstress. She grew up idolizing Judy Garland and Shirley Temple, and asserted from a young age that she would be a star as well. She also liked country music, being particularly drawn to the hits of Hank Williams. Cline suffered a throat infection as a child that she would later credit as a gift, believing that it was that illness that resulted in her deep-throated voice.

As a teenager, Cline competed in local talent shows and sang on the radio in Winchester. She performed in local country clubs wearing fringed cowgirl outfits that her mother created. A brief marriage in her early twenties to Gerald Cline provided her stage surname, while a later boyfriend suggested using Patsy along with it. She was soon commanding a large following in the Virginia/D.C./Maryland area, and was appearing on the television show Town and Country. She caught the attention of Jimmy Dean, who also frequently appeared on the show, and he became an early champion of her talent. Cline began appearing on the Grand Ole Opry, and she signed to Four Star Records in 1955.

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100 Greatest Women, #54: Sara Evans

sara-evans100 Greatest Women

#54

Sara Evans

A pure country singer with a sweet tooth for pop hooks. Sara Evans has been one of the most prominent female artists during the male-dominated 21st century, thanks not only to her talent, but also to her ability to adapt to changing times.

She sounded like something out of another era when she burst on the country music scene in 1997, only two years after moving back to Nashville after a stint in Oregon. While she had recorded some sides in the early nineties with E and S Records, she was pretty much starting all over again when she returned to Music City in 1995. But songwriting legend Harlan Howard heard her take on his classic tune “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail,” and was so impressed that he worked actively to get her noticed. Eventually, his efforts led to a deal with RCA Records.

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100 Greatest Women, #58: Jan Howard

100 Greatest Women

#58

Jan Howard

She’s been an Opry member for three decades, and by the time of her induction, she was already a presence on the Nashville music scene for eleven years. Jan Howard’s biography could have been its own country song, and even was at times, but her talent has always been coupled with grit.

She was born in Missouri, and only fifteen when she married. Three children and two divorces later, she moved to California with her sons. In Los Angeles, she met a young songwriter named Harlan Howard. They quickly married in Vegas, a union that would last for ten years. One night, she began to sing while washing the dishes, and he discovered she had a vocal talent she’d been too shy to share. He asked her to sing the demo for a song he’d written called “Mommy For a Day.” The song became a big hit for Kitty Wells, and Howard became her husband’s demo singer.

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