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Barbara Mandrell Life Story


Everyone heard it about this talented country singer, who was the megastar in the 70s and 80s. She has a successful music career for over 20 years. Now, she is enjoying her hobbies, pets, and family. This 67-year-old singer was on the stage at the same time with Johnny Cash, and her TV show became one of the tops watched music shows all over the country. She is the heart and soul of country music.

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Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame

Barbara Mandrell is the first female country performer ever to join Nashville’s Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. This top prize for country music came in 2009, and it was cherry on top on her incredible and huge success in music.

“Entertainer of the Year”, twice

She is one of two performers ever to receive the same honor called AMC’s “Entertainer of the Year”. The first time she was picked in 1979, and then in 1981, The other music performer who took this award twice was Taylor Swift. That happened more than 30 years later.

“Grand Ole Opry”

Country diva was a member of the “Grand Old Opry”, since 1972. She performed on that stage until her retirement in 1997. Reba McEntire, Roy Acuff, and Minnie Pearl are just some of the names from the country music who was on stage with Barbara.

“Sleeping Single In a Double Bed”

Her first hit, that pushed her on Billboard’s music charts was the song “Sleeping Single In a Double Bed”. This song, which was released in August 1978 was her breakthrough in the Country Music industry. The song was the part of her album first “Moods”.

“I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”

I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” is the most famous and most popular song of the Barbara, writers of this song are Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan and she publishes this song in April 1981 on her album “Barbara Mandrell Live”.“I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” reached number one on U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles.

Christmas day baby

She was born on December 25th, 1948, on Christmas, and raised in house in a Texas, with her two sisters in a Christian family. She was the oldest daughter of mother Mary Ellen and father Irby Matthew Mandrell.

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Child prodigy

“When I was a little girl in Texas, no more than four or five, I used to pretend I was Loretta Young, I would make poor Aunt Thelma sit and watch me do my big entrance. I’d find one of Momma’s dresses and I’d put on a show and sing. And Aunt Thelma would sit patiently through it,” said Barbara. She was playing the steel guitar and the accordion at the age of nine.

My manager, dad

“He was not only my manager,” Barbara said, “he was my daddy, so he had my best interests at heart. . . . He wanted me to know the details of the business end because it was show business, not just show,”said Barbara about Irby Mandrell, her dad, and manager.

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Husband Ken Dudney

Barbara`s husband is Ken Dudney, former drummer from her father`s band. When they fell in love Barbara was only 14, and Ken was 21. They married in 1967 when he came back from the war in Vietnam.

Lifetime Achievement Award winner

“She’s always had a place for God and country in all that she does and has always been a firm supporter of our men and women in uniform,” said ALA president, Sandi Dutton, when Barbara Mandrell won the American Legion Auxiliary award in 2005.

She plays 7 instruments

This gifted singer plays 7 instruments. “There was only one woman in country music who played steel guitar, and the saxophone always had a reputation as a kind of man’s instrument,” she said, “Later I picked up the Dobro and the banjo, two other instruments very few women played.”

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She wrote a book

In September 1991, Barbara released her first book named “Get to the Heart: My Story”. The book was on the Best Seller List of the New York Times very soon and stayed there for 6 months. The book tells the story about Barbara`s private life and her family.

She lives in the “House of Animals”

“We have two dogs, four cats, and a cockatoo”. Barbara tells, “In my garden, I have one part that is my bird garden — for the birds, for the squirrels, the chipmunks, and the turtles in the summer.” She is a big animal lover and that is the main reason why her house is called “home of animals”.

She’s worth 45 million dollars

She makes worth 45 million dollars from her work in the music industry where she got incredible achievements. From the simple and modest Texas child, she built herself into the great worldwide performer.

She won dozens of awards

In her incredible career, Barbara Mandrell won 75 awards and honors. When she was on stage for twenty years she won some prize every year.

Country’s golden girls

Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton were at the same time the most influential female singers and performers in 70s and friends. That was the time when Dolly had a hit song 9 to 5, and Barbara had started a musical show with her sisters Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.‘I think you’ve got just about everything a girl could want,’ said Dolly about Barbara.

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The 9/11 connection

On September 11, 1984, Barbara had a car accident that she will never forget. She came alive from crush but this effect on her entire life physically, mentally and emotionally.

The film version

If you want to see this special life story you could watch a movie from 1997, which is based on Barbara Mandrell’s book Get to the Heart: My Story. The movie tells a story from the falling in love with Ken to a car accident. Lindsey Haun, Dolly Parton, and Maureen McCormick are also, in the movie.