Donna Fargo

  • Country music singer and songwriter born Yvonne Vaughn in 1940 in Mount Airy North Carolina.
  • Vaughn sang as a child, but as a youngster she never aspired to a career in music. After receiving a college degree from the University of Southern California, she taught at a high school near Los Angeles, eventually becoming the head of the English department at the school. While teaching, she began to sing at local clubs. In 1966, she met a man who believed that she had talent – the man became her manager, and two years later he became her husband.
  • She moved to Phoenix in 1966 and adopted her stage name of Donna Fargo. She recorded several singles from 1967 to 1969, but none were successful. Still, the country music world began to take notice – in 1969 she was named Top New Female Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music Awards.
  • Fargo was unique in her day in that she was a woman who wrote most of her own country songs. Her breakthrough came in 1972 with a song that she penned about a newlywed girl singing to her new husband. The song The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. was picked up by a record label and she was soon signed to a recording contract. The song was released, and it reached #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart and #11 on the Hot 100 chart. Given the success of the single, she quickly recorded her debut album, also named The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. The album topped the Country Albums chart, selling over half a million copies in the U.S.
  • Later in 1972, a second single from the debut album was released. Again written by Fargo, Funny Face became an even bigger hit, topping the country songs chart and peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 chart. Her crossover success from the country to the pop chart was a rarity for a female country artist. In 1973, she won a Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. That same year, Billboard named her Top All-Around Female Vocalist-Songwriter.
  • Her run of success on the pop chart ended after her first album, but she continued to have success in country music. She released nine more albums in the 70s, and 23 singles from these albums charted on the Hot Country Songs chart, with four topping the chart – Superman, You Were Always There, You Can’t Be a Beacon If Your Light Don’t Shine and That Was Yesterday. By the end of the 70s, Billboard named her the fifth most successful female country artist of the decade (behind Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Lynn Anderson).
  • In 1978 and 1979, Fargo hosted her own television variety show. It ran for one season on NBC – 26 half hour episodes. While she was filming her show, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She reduced her activities and sought medical help, and ultimately she continued her musical career. She released five albums in the 80s, and though she failed to have any major hits, thirteen singles charted on the Hot Country Songs chart between 1980 and 1991.
  • As she entered the new millennium, Fargo became a writer. She published eight books of poetry and inspirational messages, and she has a line of greeting cards that she sells. In 2022, she released an EP titled All Because of You. Watch her sing her breakthrough hit, The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. Definitely some 70s country twang here!

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