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Anita Carter is best known for singing with Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, a family band of early country musicians.
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Anita Carter was born the youngest daughter of Mother Maybelle Carter, the iconic country music star, in March of 1933 in Virginia. Born into the famed Carter Family band known for its country music, she joined the band along with her two older sisters. After the disbandment of the first iteration of the Carter Family band, Mother Maybelle Carter and her three daughters formed the group Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters.
Musician Ina Anita Carter was born on March 31, 1933, in Maces Spring, Virginia, into one of country music's most famous families. Anita Carter's mother, Maybelle, was a member of the legendary Carter Family trio, which consisted of A.P. Carter, his wife Sara, and his sister-in-law Maybelle. The family became one of the most influential acts in country music in the 1920s and 1930s, helping to define the sound of the modern genre.
Following a breakdown in the marriage of A.P. and Sara Carter, the original trio split up in 1943. Maybelle Carter, determined to keep the family in the music business, joined her three daughters—Helen Carter, June Carter Cash and Anita, the youngest—in a new act called Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. Later in her life, Anita would joke that despite performing for the first time at the age of 4, she didn't actually get paid until she was 6.
Mother Maybelle Carter was a talented musician who played the guitar, banjo and autoharp, inspiring her children to learn multiple instruments themselves. At the age of 10, Anita Carter began playing the stand-up bass and singing soprano with Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, primarily performing on the radio from their hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The mother-daughter quartet would continue to perform together on and off for the next five decades.
Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, Anita Carter continued to play and sing alongside her family as well as pursuing her own solo career. While most girls her age were getting ready for the sock hop, Carter was recording chart-topping duets with the likes of Hank Snow and Hank Williams. In 1950, the Carters became a permanent fixture in Nashville, performing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry alongside greats like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
Known for her pretty voice as well as her pretty face, Anita Carter had plenty of male admirers, even among country music legends. One Presley biographer claims she held the King's affections, as he sought to impress her on stage when the Carters toured with him in 1956 and 1957.
Grand Ole Opry gossip notwithstanding, Anita Carter's voice was her true signature. As her sister June Carter Cash once said, "My sister had the greatest voice of anybody in this town, absolutely the prettiest voice." Anita's ethereal soprano lent itself quickly to a budding solo career that took off in the early 1960s. Along with logging plenty of studio time recording albums, Anita joined Johnny Cash's troupe, appearing regularly on tour and on his television show.
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They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
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