Best Known For
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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Meanwhile, she found time to churn out a handful of top-charting hits, among them, "I'm Gonna Leave You" and a duet with Waylon Jennings called "I Got You," which reached the No. 4 spot on the Billboard Country chart.
Along with the more popular country-western tracks she recorded, Carter also cut two more folk-centered albums in the '60s. Most famously, on Folk Songs Old and New (1963), she recorded a song called "(Love's) Ring of Fire,
" co-written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. The song would later be covered by Johnny Cash, becoming the biggest hit of the Man in Black's career, staying at number one for seven weeks in 1963. The story goes that Cash heard the song, then dreamt of his own variation (complete with Mexican horns), later asking Anita Carter (his sister-in-law) if he could re-record the track if her version didn't make it to the top of the charts.
Though by the late 1970s, the Carter Family troupe had mostly gone their separate ways, they occasionally reunited on stage. When Mother Maybelle died in 1978, Helen and Anita felt a strong urge to continue the family tradition. The group incorporated a third generation into the mix, represented by June's daughter Carlene and Anita's daughter Lori. In 1982 and 1988, the Carter sisters and their daughters made albums together; in 1986, they played to a massive, adoring crowd at the Wembley Festival of Country Music.
Anita Carter was married four times in total, twice to Don Davis. Her first husband was fiddler Dale Potter, and her last husband (they divorced in 1974) was Bob Wooton, who was also a guitarist for Johnny Cash. Carter had two children, Lori Frances and Jay Davis.
Anita Carter's musical career was cut short in the 1990s by severe bouts of rheumatoid arthritis, which she had battled for many years. Eventually, due to the harsh drugs used to treat her arthritis, Carter's pancreas, kidneys and liver began to fail. In 1999, at the age of 66, she passed away in the Tennessee home of June and Johnny Cash.
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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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