Tanya Tucker

  • Country music singer and songwriter born in 1958 in Seminole Texas.
  • Tucker moved frequently with her family as a child, as her father looked for better construction jobs. By the age of eight, she showed interest in singing country music as a career. Her parents obliged by allowing her to audition, and she earned a singing slot at the Arizona State Fair before she was ten years old. Country singer Mel Tillis heard her sing, and Tillis invited Tucker on his stage to sing. At the age of ten, the family moved to Las Vegas, and Tucker performed on local stages. She recorded a demo tape that found its way to a record label, and she was signed to a recording contract as the age of thirteen.
  • Her record producer intended for Tucker’s first single to be The Happiest Girl In the Whole USA, but when Donna Fargo decided to release that song, Tucker chose Delta Dawn instead, released in April 1972. It reached #6 on the Hot Country Songs chart and #72 on the Hot 100, and suddenly, thirteen-year-old Tucker had a hit song. Her debut album, also titled Delta Dawn, was released later that year. Two more singles charted on the Country chart – Love’s the Answer and The Jamestown Ferry.
  • Tucker released six more albums between 1973 and 1977, stringing together sixteen top 40 country hits, including #1 singles What’s Your Mama’s Name, Blood Red and Goin’ Down, Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone), Lizzie and the Rainman, San Antonio Stroll and Here’s Some Love. One of country music’s biggest stars was not yet 20 years old, with two Grammy nominations and the Academy of Country Music award for Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1972.
  • In 1978, Tucker decided to change her image to incorporate rock and roll into her music. She released her TNT album that year – her cover of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away reached #70 on the Hot 100 chart, and her country rock singles Texas (When I Die) and I’m the Singer, You’re the Song peaked at #5 and #18 respectively on the Country chart. With this conversion to country rock, she became one of the few women considered part of the outlaw country movement from the 70s and 80s.
  • As she entered the 80s, her popularity declined. Four albums released between 1979 and 1982 had modest sales, and her only top 5 country hit was Can I See You Tonight in 1980. She began drinking and partying while living in Los Angeles. Her romantic relationship with Glen Campbell ended in 1982, and she moved to Nashville in seclusion.
  • Tucker began to record again in 1986, with up-tempo country songs, and her career was revitalized. Four albums released between 1986 and 1990 sold well. and eleven singles reached the top 10 of the Country chart, with four songs topping the chart – Just Another Love, I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love, If It Don’t Come Easy and Strong Enough To Bend. She continued her comeback in the 90s, with two of her five albums released between 1991 and 1997 attaining platinum status. The Country Music Association chose her as Female Vocalist of the Year in 1991. She had 13 singles in the Country Top 10 from 1990 to 1997.
  • Her output of recordings slowed during the new millenium. Albums were released in 2002 and 2009, and ten years later, she released an album titled While I’m Livin’. The album was co-produced and co-written by Brandi Carlile. The album won a Grammy award for Best Country Album in 2020, and the song Bring My Flowers Now won the Grammy award for Best Country Song, with Tucker as a co-writer of the song (one of only three recorded songs that she co-wrote).
  • In 2022, a documentary film was released titled The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile. The plot for the film reads “Decades after Tanya Tucker slipped from the spotlight, music star Brandi Carlile takes it upon herself to write an entire album for her hero based on Tanya’s extraordinary life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history.” The film won the SXSW Audience Award and the Best Editing award at the Woodstock Film Festival.
  • Tucker continues to tour, and she has her own tequila brand. She wrote an autobiography, published in 1997. She is the rare child star that managed to stay successful many years after breaking into the music industry. Here’s thirteen year old Tucker singing Delta Dawn on the television show Hee Haw in 1973 – listen for that signature vibrato in her voice. And then, watch Tucker and Carlile performing Bring My Flowers Now at the Grammy Awards 47 years later!

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