Wondering about the leading ladies who ruled the country airwaves in the 70s? So were we. After an extensive journey into this golden era, we've compiled a list of the best female country singers of the 70s. Here they are.
Jeanie C. Riley
Jeanie C. Riley emerged as one of the most remarkable country singers of the 1970s. Her ability to convey deep emotions through her music, coupled with her resonant voice and charismatic stage presence, set her apart as a true standout in a vibrant era of country music.
Riley's breakthrough hit, “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” catapulted her to stardom in 1968, but it was in the 1970s that she truly showcased her prowess as a country artist. Bangers like “Country Girl,” “Good Enough to Be Your Wife,” and “Oh Singer,” cemented her place in history.
Jeanie consistently delivered songs that resonated with country aficionados. Her songs featured themes of love, heartache, and the everyday struggles of ordinary people. This, combined with her authentic and relatable performances made her music feel like personal stories shared with a close friend.
Wanda Jackson's impact on country music during the 1970s was so profound, that it solidified her status as one of the era's finest performers. Her distinct blend of country, rock, and gospel, along with her powerful voice and dynamic stage presence, made her a true icon of the decade.
Songs like “Fancy Satin Pillows” and “The Box It Came In” showcased her versatile vocal range and demonstrated her adaptability to the evolving country styles of the time. What set Jackson apart was her charismatic delivery and unabashed emotion, allowing her to convey the heartache, resilience, and strength embedded within her songs.
Known for her captivating storytelling and distinctive vocal style, Gentry gripped audiences with a string of hits that showcased her unparalleled ability to blend country, pop, and folk influences into beautifully crafted songs.
Songs like “Fancy” and “Oklahoma, My Sweet Love” highlighted her talent for crafting relatable and poignant narratives, often delving into themes of love, heartache, and the complexities of Southern life.
Bobbie Gentry's contributions to country music extended beyond her musical prowess. She challenged conventions with her unique fashion sense and lyrical depth, defying genre norms and paving the way for artists who dared to explore new artistic territories.
Lynn Anderson, born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, emerged as a formidable force in country music during the '70s. This iconic woman started her singing journey in the mid-1960s, but her career soared in the following decade.
She established herself as one country music's most significant female artists with hit songs and successful albums. Influence resonated through decades; she embarked on an impressive musical journey until July 30, 2015. Her untimely death at age 67 was due to a heart attack after contracting pneumonia.
Jessi Colter, an American country singer, made her mark in the mid-1970s. As one of the few female artists to make it big during that period, she made waves in the music world.
The surname “Colter” belonged to Jess Colter, a historical figure infamous for his law-evading adventures. This hint of rebellion seeped into her music, too; her hits resonated with listeners due to their raw emotion and unique narrative.
Throughout the 70s, Jessi Colter delivered hit after hit in what seemed like unstoppable momentum. Among these chartbusters was “I'm Not Lisa,” which climbed to number one on country singles charts! There's no doubt that she became an icon among female artists in country music during this time.
Donna Fargo, born Yvonne Vaughan in 1945, emerged from Mount Airy, North Carolina, and stormed the Country Music scene in the 70s. She carved a unique path as a singer and songwriter with her brand of upbeat tunes that appealed deeply to fans across different music genres.
Her chart-shattering hits include “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA” and “Funny Face,” which claimed Top 10 positions on country charts and painted her as a crossover success story in pop music. Her songs resonated deeply with many listeners due to their authentic storytelling and catchy rhythms.
Crystal Gayle is an iconic American country music singer who rose to fame in the 1970s. One of her most well-known songs, “Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” was released in 1977 and became a huge hit.
This Grammy-winning artist is widely recognized as one of the decade's most famous female country singers. Interestingly, Crystal Gayle's real name is Brenda Gail Webb. With her unique voice and memorable performances, Crystal Gayle left a lasting impact on the country music scene during the 70s.
Loretta Lynn, the talented country music artist of the 1970s, was chosen as the artist of the decade by the Academy of Country Music. She holds the unique distinction of being the only woman to have received this title.
Known for her powerful voice and memorable songs, Loretta Lynn became one of the most influential women in country music history during this time period. Rising to fame in the late Sixties and early-Seventies, she captured audiences with her heartfelt performances and relatable lyrics.
Renowned for her contributions to country music, Loretta Lynn has been honored by multiple Halls of Fame. She was inducted into more music Halls of Fame than any other female recording artist.
Barbara Mandrell, an American country music singer, and musician, made a significant mark in the industry. In 1979, she was awarded the prestigious title of CMA's Female Vocalist of the Year.
Not stopping there, Mandrell claimed even greater success by being named Entertainer of the Year in 1980 and 1981. She was the first artist to achieve such recognition in both categories.
Her contributions to country music have not gone unnoticed – Barbara Mandrell has earned her rightful place in the esteemed Country Music Hall of Fame.
Anne Murray is a Canadian singer who gained fame in the 70s for her pop, country, and adult contemporary music. She has sold over 55 million albums, making her one of the most successful artists of that era.
Murray is highly regarded as a Canadian country singer and has received numerous honors for her contributions to the music industry. Some of her well-known songs include “Snowbird” and “A Little Good News.” In addition to singing her hits, Murray has also covered songs by other artists, showcasing her versatility as a performer.