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Versatile singer and songwriter k.d. Lang is known for such country hits as "Crying" and "I'm Down to My Last Cigarette," and for the successful pop single "Constant Craving."
Watch a short video about KD Lang and find out how the out country singer won over audiences.
Vince Gill comments on the impact of Chet Atkins on Music City.
Tanya Tucker remembers her first trip to Nashville and the Opry.
Emmylou Harris credits Gram Parsons with her segue into country music.
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While individual country stars such as Minnie Pearl and Loretta Lynn sang her praises, k.d. Lang was never fully accepted by the country music establishment. As she once explained to People magazine, "I was there in Nashville, a lesbian, a vegetarian, a Canadian, and trying to get in with this white, male, Christian society. They were like, 'What the hell are you doing here, girl?'"
With 1992's Ingenue, Lang seemed to shed much of her country style in favor of a more adult contemporary sound. The popular album featured her biggest pop hit to date: "Constant Craving." She followed up this successful recording with an unusual venture: composing the soundtrack to 1993's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Continuing her musical journey, Lang experimented with different styles on All You Can Eat in 1995. Two years later, she released the smoking-themed effort Drag.
Lang made a guest appearance on Tony Bennett's Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues (2001), which led the pair to team up for a collaborative album. In 2002, Lang and Bennett honored the late Louis Armstrong with the Grammy Award-winning A Wonderful World, an album of their own takes on Satchmo's trademark songs. Bennett, a veteran crooner, had nothing but high praise for Lang, calling her "the best singer since Judy Garland" in an NPR interview.
Returning to her roots, Lang recorded Hymns of the 49th Parallel (2005), a collection of songs written by other Canadian artists. She even sang her widely praised rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Her next major work was 2008's Watershed, noted for its country rock flavor. More recently, Lang released Sing It Loud (2011).
In 2013, Lang was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. "A gift to music, k.d. Lang's voice is an instrument unto itself—uniquely beautiful and haunting," said Melanie Berry, president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the JUNO Awards, in a statement on the organization's website. Berry also called Lang "one of our most accomplished singer-songwriters of all time."
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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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