Barbara Mandrell Biography
Barbara Ann Mandrell (born December 25, 1948 in Houston, Texas) is a Country Music singer, who became one of the most successful Pop-oriented Country music singers of the 1970s and 80s. She was given the nickname the Princess of Steel, for her skill at the steel guitar.
Barbara Mandrell has been known as one of the most successful and popular Country singers of the 70s and 80s. She was far more than a country singer, howver. She also known as an actress as well, having a successful career in television as well as music. Barbara was born on Christmas Day in 1948. She has always had musical influence being both her parents were musically-oriented. The was the oldest of three girls, one which, Louise Mandrell became a successful Country singer herself for a period of time. While growing up, she was taught the steel guitar and many other instruments, including the accordion, saxophone and banjo. She even played steel guitar for legendray Country/Pop singer of the early 60s, Patsy Cline. Cline once quoted at one time in fact that Mandrell played the "steel guitar out of this world". She also played guitar for Joe Maphis in Las Vegas and even on the Town Hall Party show. A couple of years later, Barbara and her sisters, as well as her parents founded the Mandrell Family Band. With this, they toured all over the United States and Asia. The drummer in the band, Ken Dudley became Mandrell's husband shortly after she finished high school.
Sadly though, Dudley was drafted and sent overseas and Mandrell decided that she would become a country singer and moved to Nashville. Her father was now her manager and with his help, she signed on with Columbia Records in 1969. Over the next couple of years, Mandrell had a few minor hits. This was only showing the potential Barbara had inside her to become successful. Her producer at the time was Billy Sherrill, who was known for producing other greta works of art in Country music like Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich and Tanya Tucker. She remained with her record company until 1975. During this time though, she recorded some material she may not be best known for like "Do Right Man", "The Midnight Oil", "Do Right Woman" and "Tonight My Baby's Coming Home". These songs helped jumpstart Mandrell's professional career in Country music.
These songs made Barbara Mandrell a household name in Country music. Her career was only getting started but she finally got what she truly wanted, which was a successful career in Country music. In 1976, she switched to ABC/Dot Records. She worked with a more Pop-oriented record producer. Her wasn't unique for the time though. At the time in Country music, producers were looking to bring their Country singers into more Pop material. Some examples of these singers are Lynn Anderson, Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle. However, this made Mandrell a even bigger Country star, even getting her first #1 hit in 1978 with "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed". With this, Mandrell never looked back. She went closer and closer into Pop music, having sings even become Top 10 Adult Contemporary hits. After the success of "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed", Mandrell continued to have success on the charts. Some highlights during this time would be "Years", "Love Is Thin Ice" and the disco-oriented hit called "Crackers". She even had a duet hit with George Jones called "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool".
In Country music in the 1970s, singers spoke of heartache and lonlieness. Mandrell however spoke of more risky material. The subject of many of her songs had dealt quite openly with topics such as sex and one-night stands. This material is evident in many of her biggest hits like "Sleeping Single In a Double Bed". She ven moaned in her 1973 hits ong "I'll Feel Kinda Dirty". However, despite what her songs talked about, Barbara always maintained a a very clean image and was a devout Christian.
In 1980 Barbara won the Entertainer of the Year Award from the Country Music Association and won it again in 1981. Barbara Mandrell went to the very peak of her career in th 1980s, when she hosted her own variety network show called Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters. Although the show was gaudy, the show was very successful. Even though the show was going great, Barabara had to cancel the show after two years due to exhaustion. It seemed that at this time Barbara became very stressed in her work, but at this time she didn't do much to stop it. She also performed in Las Vegas in a show called The Lady Is a Champ. However, everything came to a big halt in 1984 when Mandrell was involved in a severe autombile accident. Tow of her children were also involved in the head-on car collision but survived. Mandrell amost died of her injuries and remained hospitalized for a year. This kept Mandrell's stress under control.
After the car accident, that Mandrell suffered, she came back into Country music with a few minor hits. At this time though, her chart success was fading away. Howver, she refused to give up the struggle and continued to perform and act. Ahe even wrote an autobiography called Get to the Heart: My Story. She also opened her own musuem in Nashville called the Mandrell Country Museum. In 1997 she shocked all of her fans by stating she was leaving her Country music career and moving more into her acting career. Howver, despite she retired from the buisness, she still remains a member of the Grand Ole Opry to this day.