70’s Country Stars: Then & Now

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Country Music is one of the most popular genres of music all over the wforld. With lyrics that touch your soul and music that makes you move, country music has been celebrated throughout the generations. However, it has also evolved through time, especially in the 1970s. The 70s saw the emergence of outlaw country, country pop, country rock and so much more. There were so many country music pioneers that came the decade. Find out what all your favorite 70’s country stars are up to today.

Loretta Lynn – Then

During the 1950s, Loretta Lynn performed in pubs, until she was discovered and signed to a label in 1960. She released several top-charting hits in the late 60s and 70s such as “Fist City,” “Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone),” “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Rated ‘X’.” In the 1970s, she also formed a duet partnership with Conway Twitty. The two became one of the most successful duos in country music history.

Loretta Lynn – Now

Loretta Lynn has never left the country music scene. When she began releasing songs, she became known for singing about several controversial subjects, especially from the perspective of a woman. Even with her newer music, she still continues to do so. She is the most awarded female country recording artist. However, she’s still not stopping and will be releasing new music in 2018.

Marie Osmond – Then

After her brothers shot into fame as the family group “The Osmonds,” records executives persuaded Marie to give music a try. She released her first single, “Paper Roses,” in 1973. The crossover country-pop hit rose to number 1 on the country charts and number 5 on the pop charts. She released 4 charting studio albums throughout the 70s, along with several duets with her brother, Donny. In 1975, Donny & Marie also began hosting their own variety show.

Marie Osmond – Now

After taking a 7-year hiatus, Marie returned to the country scene and released an album in 1985. The album titled “There’s No Stopping Your Heart” included 4 chart-topping hits. After the 80s, Marie’s charting success really slowed down. She only one hit single in the 90s. However, her most recent album, Music Is Medicine, made it to top 10 on the charts. She and her brother have also headlined a show in Vegas since 2008.

Anne Murray – Then

It is said that Anne Murray paved the way for Canadian musicians. The country-pop star was the first Canadian female solo singer to reach number 1 on the U.S. charts, with her single “Snowbird.” Her first single was quickly followed with other country and pop charting hits such as “Danny’s Song,” “You Needed Me,” “A Love Song,” and “Broken Hearted Me.”

Anne Murray – Now

Today, Anne Murray has released a total of 32 albums which have won her 4 Grammy Awards and 3 Country Music Association Awards. She opened the Anne Murray Center, in her hometown, Springhill, Nova Scotia. The center holds memorabilia of her career and aims to promote tourism and music in the Nova Scotia area.  She retired from music in 2009. On her retirement from music, she told CTV, “I knew it was time to pack it in. I was in my 60s … I could still sing but I didn’t want to get to that point where people feel sorry for me.”

Reba McEntire – Then

While still in college, Reba McEntire performed the National Anthem at the National Rodeo in Oklahoma City. She was spotted by Red Steagall who took her to Nashville. She signed with her first label in 1975 and released her first solo album 2 years later. She released her second album, Out of a Dream, in 1979. The album included her first top 20 hit, “Sweet Dreams.”

Reba McEntire – Now

Reba McEntire didn’t see huge commercial success until the mid-80s, with her seventh album, Just a Little Love. The album included two number 1 hits. Her presence in country music has yet to waver and, today, she has released over 30 albums. She also made the jump to acting and had roles in “Tremors,” “The Little Rascals” and “Charlotte’s Web.” She also starred in her self-titled series “Reba.”

Crystal Gayle – Then

Crystal Gayle grew up in a large family with 8 siblings. Despite not having much money, many of the siblings went on to have very successful music careers. Crystal released her first single, in 1970, with the help of her sister Loretta Lynn. Lynn wrote Crystal’s first single which peaked at number 23 on the country charts. Gayle’s first album, released in 1974, included her first top 10 hit. She is best known for her country-pop 1977 hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

Crystal Gayle – Now

Crystal Gayle has released over 20 solo albums. In 2009, she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2015 she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Her last album was released in 2003. However, she recently announced she is working on a new album, titled Am I That Easy To Forget, which has yet to have a release date.

Kris Kristofferson – Then

After serving in the military, Kris Kristofferson moved to Nashville. However, his beginnings in the city of music were hard. He eventually found a job sweeping floors at Columbia Recording Studios. While working, he met June Carter. He passed his demo onto June who, in turn, gave it to Johnny Cash. From there his career soared and by the late 60s, he was releasing charting hits. In the early 70s, he also wrote music for several successful artists and even won “Song of the Year” in 1970.

Kris Kristofferson – Now

In the 1980s, Kristofferson joined the country supergroup “The Highwaymen.” Their first, second and third albums were huge hits. He continued to release solo music as well. Kristofferson’s most recent album, “The Cedar Creek Sessions,” was released in 2016. Aside from singing, Kristofferson is also a celebrated actor. Today, he has over 115 acting credits to his name.

Rosanne Cash – Then

Rosanne Cash is the daughter of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian. After graduating high school, she joined her father on tour originally as a wardrobe assistant but later became a backup vocalist. She made her recording debut on her father’s 1974 album “The Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me.” In 1976, her father recorded one of her compositions “Love Has Lost Again.” She released her solo debut album in 1978. However, it was never released in the U.S.

Rosanne Cash – Now

Rosanne Cash saw most of her commercial success in the 80s. However, she continued to create music in the 90s and 2000s. Her most recent album, The River & The Thread, which was released in 2014, won her 3 Grammy awards. In 2015, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

John Conlee – Then

After growing up in Kentucky, John Conlee moved to Nashville, in 1971, to pursue his dream in country music. He was signed to ABC Records in 1976 and by 1978 he released his first charting hit, “Rose Colored Glasses.” The album by the same name also featured two more hits that would rise to number one on the charts, “Lady Lay Down” and “Backside of Thirty.”

John Conlee – Now

John Conlee has released a total of 11 studio albums, with his most recent release in 2004. He also released 2 “John Lee Classics” album, with the 3rd to be released in 2018. John currently tours the country with his music and already has more dates set for 2018.

 

Kenny Rogers – Then

After performing in 2 bands, Kenny Rogers launched his solo career in 1976. Although he had come from a rock and jazz background, he changed his sound to country and pop. His first solo album was a moderate success. However, his second self-titled album, released in 1976, was a hit. His single from the album “Lucille” reached number 1 in several countries, which led to the album reaching number one on the country album chart.

Kenny Rogers – Now

In 2015, Rogers announced his retirement from music after his last tour. His last performance, on the tour, took place in October 2017 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The show featured guests such as Travis Tritt, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, and Little Big Town. Rogers has won several Grammy, AMA, CMA and other awards. He has also sold over 100 million records worldwide.

 

Olivia Newton-John – Then

Olivia Newton-John released her first solo album, If Not for You, in 1971. The title track rose to number one on the adult contemporary charts. In 1973, she released “Let Me Be There.” The song was an international sensation and reached the top 10 on the pop, country, and adult contemporary charts. That same year she won the Grammy for Best Country Female and Academy of Country Music Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist. She finished the decade strong with her performance as Sandy in “Grease.”

Olivia Newton-John – Now

Since the 1970s, Olivia Newton-John has continued to act and sing. In total, she has released 29 albums, 14 of which have been certified gold. Sadly, after 25 years of remission, Olivia Newton-John was recently re-diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she is a fighter. During an interview with Australia’s 60 Minutes, she said “I’ve had and I’m having an amazing life. So I have no complaints. I really don’t … everyone goes through something. We all have something we need to go through in life and this has been my challenge.”

Moe Bandy – Then

After trying to work with a band throughout most of the 60s, Moe Bandy released his first solo single in 1973. His single “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today” peaked at number 17 on the charts. He received moderate success with several other singles. However, at the end of the decade, he finally released his first number 1 hit, “I Cheated Me Right Out of You.”

Moe Bandy – Now

Moe Bandy stayed very active in the country scene throughout the 80s and 90s. He released several albums and toured regularly. Although he slowed down in the 2000s, he still performs occasionally as well as released a few more albums. His most recent album, Lucky Me, was released in 2016. Aside from music, Bandy is a bull riding champion and was even inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Bonnie Raitt – Then

In the 1970s, Bonnie Raitt released many Americana-country style songs. Despite receiving critical acclaim by music critics, her work saw little success with the public. She released her first commercially successful album, “Sweet Forgiveness,” in 1977. The album included her charting remake of “Runaway.” In 1979, she helped create the “Musicians United For Safe Energy” concerts, which led to several gold albums and a film by the same name.

Bonnie Raitt – Now

From 1971-1998, Bonnie Raitt released 13 studio albums. In 2000, Raitt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite reaching such high status in the music industry, she continued to make music to share her creativity with fans. She released 4 more albums, with her most recent in 2016. In 2017, she went on tour with her newest album.

 

Stella Parton – Then

After sing in a gospel band with two of her sisters, Stella Parton moved to Nashville and opened her own record label, Soul, Country And Blues, in 1975. That same year she released her first solo album, I Want to Hold You in My Dreams Tonight. The track rose to the top 10 on the country chart. The hit landed her a deal with the label, Elecktra. She went on to release 3 more albums in the 70s.

Stella Parton – Now

Despite leaving Elektra in 1980, Stella continued to create music and has released over 30 albums. Her next album, Survivor, is expected to be released soon and is the first album in 10 years to have original material. She has dabbled in television and most recently appeared in her sister’s 2016 TV movie, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.”

Dolly Parton – Then

After growing up in a self-described “dirt poor” family, Dolly Parton began performing as a child on local radio and TV. By 13-years-old, she was performing in the Grand Ole Opry. She released her first top-five single in 1970 and her first number one single “Joshua,” the following year. Her charting success continued and in 1973, she released, arguably, her most famous song “Jolene.” By the end of the 1970s, Dolly had released over 20 albums.

Dolly Parton – Now

Dolly Parton has not slowed down since the 1970s. She has doubled the number of released albums, which have included over 20 singles to reach number 1 on the Billboard country charts. She has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and was given the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. She recently began a new musical project. In 2017, she released a 13-song album targeted towards children.

Mandrell Sisters – Then

The eldest Mandrell sister, Barbara, began her career at a very young age touring with artists such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. In the 60s, the sisters joined forces in a band formed by their father. After the band disbanded, Barbara and Louise continued with solo careers. However, the sisters reunited in the 80s for their variety show “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.” Through the show, the sisters were given credit for helping popularize country music to a wider audience.

Mandrell Sisters – Now

Since retiring from music in 1997, Barbara Mandrell has enjoyed spending time with her family and gardening. Irlene recently began her solo career with her first single release in 2015, which was followed by her first solo album in 2017. Louise also has a solo career but hasn’t released a new single since 2001. However, she still tours. The trio rarely appears together. However, the recently reunited for a fundraiser.

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