Born on October 10, 1958, in Seminole, Texas, Tanya Tucker went on to forge a huge career in country music, having her first Top 10 as a teen with "Delta Dawn." Dozens of hit songs and popular albums have followed with a career lasting decades. She's also penned an autobiography, founded her own record label, starred in a reality TV series and helmed a collection of covers honoring male artists.
Singer Tanya Denise Tucker was born on October 10, 1958, in Seminole, Texas. She grew up in the southwest, with the family moving around due to her father Beau's construction work jobs (doing "everything from selling junk iron to core drilling" Tucker would later say in a People interview). At 6 years old, Tucker began to take up the sax. She eventually realized she preferred vocalizing, and she and her family moved to Las Vegas where she could pursue performance opportunities. Beau became her manager.
Reaching Charts at 13
Tucker signed with Columbia Records and put forth her debut album Delta Dawn in 1972, with the title track released when the singer was only 13; it reached No. 6 on the country charts. (She was inspired to cover the song after seeing it performed by Bette Midler on television.) The following year, Tucker had her first No. 1 hit with "What's Your Mama's Name," featured on the album of the same title.
With a musical style that belied her age, at 15, Tucker had already recorded her first Grammy Award-nominated song and become one of the first country artists to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Over the ensuing decades, Tucker garnered many more hits while switching over to various labels.
Romance with Glen Campbell
Tucker had more No. 1's during the 1970s with songs like "Blood Red and Goin' Down," "Lizzie and the Rainman," "San Antonio Stroll" and "Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)." She also released additional albums like Tanya Tucker (1975) and Ridin' Rainbows (1977), with the saucy, gold-certified TNT (1978) having a more rock bent.
By 1980, Tucker had become romantically involved with fellow musical artist Glen Campbell, performing together both live and in the studio and painting the town red. After the two split, Tucker relied heavily on liquor and drugs, and sought rehabilitation at the Betty Ford clinic.
Tucker had developed a passion for acting as well. She was the lead in the made-for-TV flick Follow That Car (1980) and co-starred in the 1981 film Hard Country, which featured Jan-Michael Vincent, Kim Basinger and Daryl Hannah.
More Hits and Honors
Tucker garnered more hits during the 1980s from releases like Changes (1983) and Girls Like Me (1986), with the latter album boasting four Top 10 tracks. Tucker kept on trucking with three more No. 1 singles in 1988.
Though things slowed down for a period, Tucker resurfaced in the 1990s, with country music coming back in vogue. The albums What Do I Do with Me (1991) and Can't Run from Yourself (1992) both went platinum. In 1991, she was named the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year, with the beginning of the decade seeing the performer score a slew of consecutive Top 10 songs. In 1992, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame's Walkway of Stars and won Country Music Television's Female Video Artist of the Year award. By 1997, Tucker released her 30th album, Complicated, as well as her autobiography, Nickel Dreams: My Life,with co-writer Patsy Bale Cox.
In 2002, Tanya Tucker left Capitol Records and released the album Tanya on her own label, Tuckertime. Two live albums followed before she dropped My Turn (2009) under the Saguaro Road imprint. The collection showcases Tucker covering songs originally performed by male artists like George Jones, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride. The packaging of the album featured the singer cradling the hat of her father, who died in 2006.
Tucker has also starred in her own reality TV series, Tuckerville, which aired on The Learning Channel from 2005-2006 with 31 episodes and featured the artist with her children.
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