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Ten Almost Forgotten Female Country Music Singers

Glory's love of classic country music is the inspiration for this listing. These ladies made beautiful music and some are still at it!

These ten women have been overlooked, underappreciated, and nearly forgotten for their contributions to country music.

These ten women have been overlooked, underappreciated, and nearly forgotten for their contributions to country music.

Though their careers may have begun in different decades (the 1980s for some, the 1970s for others, and the 1990s for a select few), these accomplished and beautiful women have the common trait of being overlooked, underappreciated, and possibly nearly forgotten.

If you are unfamiliar with these vocalists, you owe it to yourself to seek out their music; I believe you will be happy that you did so. Do yourself a favor and check them out!

Lane Brody

Lane Brody

1. Lane Brody

Lane was born Lynn Connie Voorlas on September 25, 1955, and by age 12 had written her first song. After graduating from high school, she went to New York to work on a music career and eventually ended up in Chicago, where she made a living by singing jingles for products like beer and motorcycles.

In 1976, she released her first single, "You're Gonna Make Love to Me," under the name Lynn Niles. Her next move was to California in 1981, where she signed a contract with Liberty Records and released her self-penned song, "He's Taken," which didn't crack the Top 40. Her next single, "More Nights," made it into the Top 60. A minor hit came her way when she did a duet with Thom Bresh called "When It Comes to Love".

In 1982, she had a No. 15 hit with "Over You," which was used in the feature film Tender Mercies. The song received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song in 1984. Also, during the 1984 Olympics, Brody was heard by millions singing jingles for Beatrice Foods, which did a massive advertising campaign during that time. She was nicknamed "the voice of the 1984 Olympics."

She and songwriter John Weilder wrote "The Yellow Rose" based on an old Civil War standard for the theme to the television series The Yellow Rose on NBC in 1984. She and singer Johnny Lee recorded a single version of the song, which went to the top of the country charts.

In 1985, off of her self-titled album, Lane Brody, she had two hits: "He Burns Me Up" and "Baby's Eyes." In 1986, she and Johnny Lee recorded a duet, "I Could Get Used to This," which failed to make the Top 40 country charts. Lane also wrote and performed "All the Unsung Heroes" for a documentary on the Vietnam War Memorial.

Lane continues to record with her most recent album, Christmas Love, released in 2017.

  • Lane also has acting on her resume with a role in the 1986 TV series Heart of the City (an episode titled "Don't Sell Yourself to the Cannibals").
  • Actress Linda Hamilton lip-synced Lane's vocals in the TV movie Country Gold, which starred Loni Anderson as a country music singer.
  • Susan Dey sang Lane's composition "Just a Little More Love" in the TV movie The Gift of Love (1982), which was nominated for an Emmy
Helen Cornelius

Helen Cornelius

2. Helen Cornelius

Helen Lorene Johnson was born on December 6, 1941. She had a love for music thanks to listening to The Grand Ole Opry as well as listening to her brothers who played in bands. Eventually, she got in on the performing act and formed a trio with her sisters, Judy and Sharon. She would eventually go solo and perform with her own band, The Crossroads.

When she graduated from high school, she married and found work as a secretary, but she never gave up her love for singing and performed whenever possible. It was in the 1960s that she began to establish a name for herself as a songwriter, and after submitting a demo tape to Columbia/Screen Gems Music, they hired her on. When the company folded, she sent a demo tape to Jerry Crutchfield, who signed her to MCA Music. Crutchfield also helped her secure a recording contract with Columbia Records.

In 1973, she recorded and released two unsuccessful singles. In 1975, on the RCA record label, she released two more songs, but neither managed to chart.

In 1976, she was paired with country singer Jim Ed Brown, and the pair released the successful duet, 'I Don't Want to Have to Marry You," which hit No. 1 on the country charts. She then tried her hand at another solo effort, "There's Always a Goodbye," but it failed to capture listeners' attention.

Several more duets with Brown climbed the charts, and Helen and Jim went on tour together and made TV appearances as well. She released a solo single in 1978 and it reached No. 30 on the music charts. Her string of hits with Brown continued on into the early 1980s, with their last duet, "Don't Bother To Knock," reaching number 13.

Helen decided to leave her duet partnership with Brown (some say she was fired) because she felt she was losing her own identity as a singer and she wanted to make a name for herself as a solo artist. She kept recording and, in 1983, took a career detour to become a spokesperson for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 1985, she changed direction again when she joined the road show revival of the classic, Annie Get Your Gun.

Helen is still active in the music business, with a recent appearance on Country's Family Reunion series, which airs on RFD-TV.

Bobbie Cryner in 1993

Bobbie Cryner in 1993

3. Bobbie Cryner

Born Phyllis "Bobbie" Cryner on September 13, 1961, she was one of the most promising and talented new singers to hit the country music scene in 1993. Her music had a very traditional sound to it, but for some reason, possibly because she was a woman who sounded "too rural" and "too different" for the urban-oriented audiences, she went relatively unnoticed.

Bobby grew up listening to the likes of Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, and George Jones and cited their music as being a great influence on not just her singing, but her songwriting as well.

At age 10, she joined a very strict fundamental Pentecostal church, and her views on religion remained fairly consistent throughout her teen years, until it dawned on her that "religion prepares you for death, while spirituality prepares you for life," and she decided to focus on life. This curiosity and answer-seeking gave her a unique view, which showed in her songwriting skills.

In the mid-80's, she met songwriter Max D. Barnes, who liked Bobbie's material. It was at his encouragement that, in 1988, she moved to Nashville, where she co-wrote a few songs with him. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to happen music-wise, but then her luck changed about three years later when she met a man named Carl Jackson, who heard her perform some of her songs. He liked what he heard, and through some of his personal contacts, Bobbie was offered a contract with Epic Records.

In 1993, she released a self-titled album on Epic Records that produced three singles, including "Daddy Laid the Blues on Me," which hit the charts in June of 1993 and peaked at No. 63 on the music charts. In 1994, her next single, "He Feels Guilty to Me," reached No. 68, and her final single, "You Could Steal Me," reached No. 2.

In 1995, she released her second album, "The Girl of Your Dreams," on MCA Nashville Records. She released two songs: "I Just Can't Stand to Be Unhappy," which peaked at No. 63; "You'd Think He'd Know Me Better," which peaked at No. 56; and "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," which failed to chart.

Bobbie is still active as a songwriter and singer.

Terri Gibbs

Terri Gibbs

4. Terri Gibbs

Terri Gibbs was born on June 15, 1954, in Miami, Florida, but was raised in Augusta, Georgia. Blind since birth, music played a big part in her childhood, having learned to play the piano at age three. Terri loved listening to gospel music, as well as rock and roll, pop, and soul. Whenever possible, she sang in choirs as well as talent contests, and after one such contest, she met Chet Atkins, who gave her advice to head to Nashville to try her luck.

At first, Terri had no luck securing a record contract, so she moved to Miami and joined the band Sound Dimension as the keyboardist. She quit the band in 1973 and enrolled in college, but she left school after a year to focus her attention on songwriting. In 1975, she moved back to Georgia and formed her own band. In 1980, she was signed to MCA Records after producer and songwriter Ed Penney heard one of her demo tapes.

In 1981, the title cut of Terri's debut album, Somebody's Knockin', was a Top Ten country hit and a crossover pop hit. Her next single, "Rich Man," made the Top 20, and the American Country Music Association named her the Best New Female Vocalist. She also won the CMA's Horizon Award.

Terri charted with two more albums—1981's I'm a Lady and 1983's Over Easy—neither of which came close to the success of her first album. In 1982, she had a Top 20 hit with Ashes to Ashes and in 1983, another Top 20 hit with Anybody Else's Heart But Mine.

She toured with George Jones in 1981–82 and often duetted with him on stage. She then took time off from recording and switched to performing gospel music. in 1987, she released the Grammy-nominated gospel album Turn Around.

Gus Hardin

Gus Hardin

5. Gus Hardin

Gus had a very distinctive voice and never had the chance to see what she could achieve in the music business. She was killed in a car accident at age 50 on February 17, 1996.

There isn't a lot of information available on Gus, who was born Carolyn Ann Blankenship on April 9, 1945. She picked up the nickname "Gus" while in her teen years. She had originally intended to be a teacher, but her love of music derailed that plan. Some biographies state that she had been married six times, and it was her third husband, Steve Hardin, whose last name she kept as her stage name.

In the early 1980s, she signed with RCA Records and released "After the Last Goodbye," which reached No. 10 on the country charts and was the most successful of her three Top Forty hits from her first album.

She was named by the Academy of Country Music as Best New Female Vocalist in 1984. She would make the country charts a few more times, and her biggest single was a duet with country singer Earl Thomas Conley. Together, they took "All Tangled Up in Love" to the No. 8 spot on the country charts.

LaCosta Tucker

LaCosta Tucker

6. LaCosta Tucker

LaCosta, Tanya Tucker's sound-alike older sister, began her career as a singer in the country group the Country Westerners. In between entering beauty pageants, talent shows and singing with the group, she managed to find the time to graduate from high school, get into Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona, graduate from there, find a full-time job as a medical records technician and sing in clubs to further her career.

In 1974, about a year after Tanya began her music career, and with the help of her father, Beau, she got a recording contract with Capitol Records and released her first single, "I Wanna Get to You," which made it to No. 25 on the country charts. Her next single, "Get on My Love Train," went to No. 3 and would be the biggest hit of her career.

Between 1974 and 1982, she put a total of fourteen songs on the country charts. When her own career slowed down in the 90s, she began to focus more time on raising her family, as well as working with Tanya's fan club.

Sisters: An Anthology came out in 2000, which had 18 songs, nine from each sister.

Louise Mandrell

Louise Mandrell

7. Louise Mandrell

Thelma Louise Mandrell was born on July 13, 1954 and is the younger sister of legendary country singer Barbara Mandrell. When she was 15 years old, she joined Barbara's touring show. In 1974, she left the show, first joining Stu Phillips' band, and then finding herself singing back up for Merle Haggard, who gave her solo time on his tours.

She signed with Epic Records and had a series of minor hits, including a few duets with her then-husband, singer, songwriter R.C. Bannon. In 1974, she moved to RCA records where she had a series of minor hits.

In 1982, she scored her first Top 20 hit with "Some of My Best Friends Are Old Songs." It was during this time that she was also co starring on The Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters show which gave her great exposure. The show was very popular and lasted for two seasons.

"Save Me" was her first Top Ten hit in 1983 and was followed by three more hit songs: "Too Hot to Sleep," "Runaway Heart," and "I'm Not Through Lovin' You Yet." Her last Top 10 hit was "I Wanna Say Yes" in 1985.

In 1988, she had her last chart single, a duet with Eric Carmen "As Long as We Got Each Other."

Judy Rodman

Judy Rodman

8. Judy Rodman

Judy Rodman was born on May 23, 1951. She began singing at age four and mastered playing the guitar by age eight. Her father was a part-time musician, and Judy sometimes found herself singing with his band. During her childhood, the family moved multiple times, and this allowed her to gain exposure and appreciation for different forms of music.

By the time she was 17 years old, she was singing jingles for television commercials. At age 18, she enrolled in college to study music, and her roommate was future 80s country star, Janie Frickie. The two became good friends, and together they got jobs singing commercial jingles through the Tanner Agency in Memphis.

After marrying John Rodman, the couple decided to move to Nashville in 1980, where she continued with her career of singing commercial jingles, but soon she decided that she would try to change the direction of her career and give country music a try.

She was able to secure a contract with MTM Records and released her debut single in 1985, "I've Been Had By Love Before." Several other singles followed, including "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" and "I Sure Need Your Lovin."

Her biggest chart success came when she scored a No. 1 hit with "Until I Met You." Her follow-up singles did well, but did not match the popularity of her No. 1 hit. She charted six more times, with her last being in 1988 with the song "I Can Love You," which didn't make it into the Top 40.

Even though Judy's chart career ended in 1988, she has worn a variety of titles since then. Not only does she still write songs, but she is a vocal coach, a producer, a public speaker, and more.

Marsha Thornton

Marsha Thornton

9. Marsha Thornton

Marsha comes from a musical family, and by the time she was eight years old, she was already playing the mandolin and singing before huge crowds. When she was sixteen years old, she was a featured performer in Country Music, USA at the Nashville theme park, Opryland, USA.

In 1989, she was part of the wave of Neo-traditionalist female singers to hit Nashville, and it wasn't long until she had secured a contract with MCA Records, and through them she released two CD's, both produced by legendary music producer Owen Bradley.

Her first single, "Deep Water," off of her self-titled debut album, was a minor hit, peaking at No. 62 on the Hot 100 chart. Her next release, "A Bottle of Wine and Patsy Cline," was her best remembered song. "The Grass is Greener" failed to chart in 1990 and her final single, "Maybe the Moon Will Shine," cracked the Top 100.

She left MCA Records in 1995 and continued singing and doing commercial jingles. In 2003, she released the album Farther Along: Acapella Hymns of Farewell.

Shelly West

Shelly West

10. Shelly West

Shelly was born May 23, 1958, and is the daughter of late country legend Dottie West. She began her singing career at age 17 when she toured with her mother, singing backup and then eventually getting the chance to take lead vocal chores. She fell in love with guitarist Allen Frizzell (little brother to Lefty and David Frizzell) and together they left Dottie's band in 1977 and went to California.

There they joined David's band and stayed for a few months. Eventually, David began to look for a recording deal, and when Snuff Garrett, a record producer for Casablanca, heard Shelly and David's demo recording of "Lovin' on Borrowed Time," he signed them. But, when Polygram took over the record label, they were dropped.

Garrett continued to feel that the duo had talent and played their song "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" for Clint Eastwood, who had just started up his own record label. Eastwood liked the song and added it to the soundtrack for his film Any Which Way You Can. The song was released as a single and hit the top of the country charts in 1981.

Their next four songs were successful, and the duo kept recording through 1985, when they split. While it was said that the official reason was that they couldn't find quality material, it is thought by some that it was the fact that West and her hubby, Allen, had divorced.

In 1983, Shelly released a solo effort and had a hit with "Jose Cuervo," which went to the top of the country charts. Her next song, "Flight 309 to Tennessee," made the Top 5 and between 1984–85 she had a series of hit songs; "Somebody Buy This Cowgirl a Beer," "Don't Make Me Wait on the Moon," and "Love Don't Come Any Better Than This."

Shelly faded from the music charts and stopped recording after marrying Gary Hood. In recent years, she has appeared in a number of Country Family Reunion episodes seen on RFD-TV.

© 2015 Glory Miller