Reba McEntire

  • Country singer and songwriter born in 1955 in McAlester Oklahoma.
  • McEntire grew up in a family of rodeo steer ropers – her father was world champion three times. When the family returned from rodeos, they practiced harmonies in the car. Eventually, they formed a group called The Singing McEntires, with Reba playing guitar and writing many of the songs that they performed. While attending college, Reba sang at local venues between classes. In 1974, she sang the National Anthem at the National Rodeo Finals. Country artist Red Steagall was at the event, and he was impressed by Reba’s vocal skills. He agreed to help her break into country music in Nashville, and in 1975, she was signed to a recording contract.
  • Three singles were released, and her self-titled debut album was released in 1977. The singles barely made the country singles chart, and the album did not chart. Her second album, released in 1979, also failed to chart, though five singles from the album reached the top 40 of the country chart, including her cover of Sweet Dreams, which peaked at #19.
  • During the 80s, McEntire’s popularity with country music fans gradually grew. She released 14 studio albums during the 80s. Her first to top the country albums chart was Whoever’s In New England in 1986. Three more albums would top the chart later in the 80s, and five albums were certified platinum or 2x platinum. Her breakthrough hit was her first #1 country single in 1982, Can’t Even Get the Blues. Starting in 1985, every single that she released during the 80s was a top 10 country hit.  During the decade, she had 13 songs reach #1, including the hits Whoever’s In New England, One Promise Too Late, I Know How He Feels, and a country cover of the Everly Brothers’ Cathy’s Clown. As the 80s progressed, her sound moved from old school country/honky-tonk to a more orchestrated sound.
  • McEntire began to dominate the country music awards in the mid 80s. She was the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year from 1984 through 1987, and she was Entertainer of the Year in 1986. She also won her first Grammy award in 1987 for the single Whoever’s In New England.
  • Reba began the 90s with another hit album, Rumor Has It. The 3x platinum album included a cover of Bobby Gentry’s Fancy, and McEntire’s version became a signature song for her. While on tour for the album, one of two chartered planes for her entourage crashed after a concert in March 1991, killing eight members of her band. She dedicated her next album For My Broken Heart to those who perished on the flight. It became her best selling album, certified 4x platinum, with the title track and Is There Life Out There both topping the country singles chart.
  • She released seven more studio albums in the 90s, five of which were #1 or #2 on the country album chart. Eight singles reached #1 during the decade, and six more peaked at #2. One of the #1 hits was a collaboration with Linda Davis – Does He Love You won a Grammy award for Best Country Collaboration in 1994.
  • Reba began the 00s by taking a break from recording to concentrate on her acting career. The television sitcom Reba debuted in in 2001. It ran for six seasons, with McEntire playing wisecracking single mother Reba Nell Hart. It set all-time viewer records for Friday nights for the WB network during its run. She also starred in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun in 2001.
  • In 2003, she released her twenty-sixth studio album, Room to Breathe. The single Somebody reached #1 on the country chart, as well as #35 on the Hot 100 chart. Two more albums were released during the 00s – both were #1 on the album chart. In 2009, she topped the singles chart again with Consider Me Gone. 
  • Five studio albums released in the 10s brought her total to 33, plus two live albums and numerous Greatest Hits albums. In 2010, she had her twenty-fourth #1 single with Turn On the Radio, giving her a #1 song in four decades. Her gospel album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope won the Grammy in 2018 for Best Roots Gospel Album. Also that year, Reba was the eighth country music artist to be recognized with a Kennedy Center Honors award.
  • With all of that – Reba also was the first female Colonel Sanders when KFC chose her to portray the face of the company in 2018. It’s easy to say that she is one of country music’s most beloved artists ever. Here’s the video to her signature hit, Fancy.

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