Folks, it’s not only Christmas today, but it is also the birthday of The Sweetheart of Steel, Barbara Ann Mandrell. She was born on December 25, 1948, and now she turns 70.
Mandrell is known for numerous top-10 hits and multiple shows in the 1970’s and 80’s that cemented her place as the country’s most successful female vocalists from any genre of that period.
Her first Billboard number one hit was “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed,” a bubblegum-pop-meets-country song about heartbreak and letting go of someone you love. This song became her twenty-sixth chart hit on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles, the first of her six #1 singles on the chart.
The song is the first single in her album “Moods” Take a listen to it here!
This was immediately followed by her hit “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right.” Her song “Years” also reached the top spot.
And who can forget her signature song “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool?” Mandrell got something right. It’s definitely a way of life.
She is a pioneer in her own field. Mandrell will always be remembered for the glorious contributions she has on country music. She definitely paved the way for other female country artists.
Mandrell was the first performer to win the CMA’s “Entertainment of the Year” award twice in her lifetime. She won it consecutively too! One in 1980, and she won it again in 1981. She also won CMA’s “Female Vocalist of the Year” in 1979 and 1981.
She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. Mandrell was also the first woman to ever join Nashville’s Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. It is an accolade that is considered to be the highest honor that a country musician can receive. Despite withdrawing from the spotlight in the early 2000’s, she is still a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Mandrell had been a member of the Opry since 1972. Since then, the Opry has been the stage to her many live performances until her retirement in 1997.
She definitely cemented her legacy in country music forever. And for that, we celebrate the birthday of this majestic woman!