Saturday, 17 December 2011

Billie Jo Spears dies at 73

Country singer Billie Jo Spears dies at 73

The Associated Press reports (Dec. 14, 2011, 11 p.m. EST) singer Billie Jo Spears, whose performance of "Blanket on the Ground" went No. 1 on the country charts in 1975, has died at age 73.
A funeral home spokesman confirmed her death Wednesday evening. Carl Willis of R.S. Farmer Funeral Home in Silsbee had no details.
The Orange Leader newspaper in Texas reported that she died Wednesday morning at her home in Vidor (VYE'dur), 85 miles northeast of Houston. No cause of death was stated.
The Beaumont native was voted most promising female vocalist by the Academy of Country Music in 1976.
Her other hits included her first chart hit  "Mr. Walker, It's All Over" (No. 4 on the Billboard Country Singles Chart) in 1969; "What I've Got in Mind" in 1976; "Misty Blue" in 1976; and "If You Want Me" in 1977.

The Tennesean then confirmed Billie Jo Spears, the sultry-voiced singer who scored 25 Top 40 country hits from 1969-1984, died of cancer at her Vidor, Texas, home on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at age 74.
Born in Beaumont, Texas, Ms. Spears began working on the Louisiana Hayride radio show when she was 13. She recorded as an early teen, most notably on the single “Too Old for Toys, Too Young for Boys,” which drew regional interest upon its Abbott Records release.
After completing high school, Ms. Spears recorded with producer (and steel guitar great) Pete Drake, and those recordings helped her to a Capitol Records contract.
Vocal problems halted her career path for a time, but in 1975, she hit No. 1 with “Blanket on the Ground,” on United Artists.
Ms. Spears became what Robert K. Oermann of MusicRow.com describes as “one of the most consistent female country hit-makers of the 1970s.” Her bluesy vocals stood apart from others of the time, and in that decade she went on to Top 10 hits including “What I’ve Got in Mind,” “Misty Blue” and “If You Want Me.”

Bio
Born in 1937 in the shipyard city of Beaumont, Texs, she was the daughter of a truck-diver father. Her mother was a welder in the shipyards, as well as a guitarist in the Light Crust Doughboys western-swing band. Billie Jo Spears began singing professionally at age 13. She first recorded in Houston at that age and also appeared on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, La.

After working as a drive-in restaurant carhop and as a secretary, she moved from Texas to Nashville in 1964. Signing with Capitol Records, she first hit the top-10 on the country charts with 1969’s “Mr. Walker It’s All Over,” the saga of a downtrodden secretary. She followed it with “Pittsburgh General,” which stood up for nurses. Other early singles included “Stepchild” (1969), in which a boy kills his abusive stepfather, and “Marty Gray” (1970), which dealt with teen pregnancy.

She faded from the hit parade and underwent vocal-cord surgery, then scored a huge comeback on United Artists Records with the toe-tapping “Blanket on the Ground.” It became her first and only No. 1 hit, both in the U.S. and abroad.

She fused country songs with danceable pop rhythms in such big hits as 1976’s “What I’ve Got in Mind,” 1977’s “If You Want Me,” 1978’s “57 Chevrolet” and 1979’s remake of Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic “I Will Survive.” Spears was also distinctive in that she rarely recorded female “victim” material. Almost all of her hit ballads are about women asserting themselves. These include “Standing Tall” (1980), “I’ve Got to Go” (1978), “I’m Not Easy” (1977), “Never Did Like Whiskey” (1976) and her revival of Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” (1981).

Her other hits include 1976’s “Misty Blue” 1978’s “Love Ain’t Gonna Wait for Us” and 1979’s “Livin’ Our Love Together.” She also recorded several notable duets with the late Del Reeves. Throughout her career, she sang with a tangy Texas accent and a feisty attitude. Her last appearance on the national country charts was in 1984.

In later years, she retained her popularity in the U.K. and recorded several albums for that market. She continued to tour stateside, despite triple-bypass heart surgery in 1993. Her most recent album was released in 2005. She had 22 British shows booked for 2012 at the time of her death in Liverpool, Glasgow, Croyden and other European locales.

No funeral service or survivor information is yet available. Funeral arrangements are being handled by R.S. Farmer Funeral Home,
415 N. Fourth St.
in Silsbee, Texas.

SOURCE - AS Press

Billie Jo Spears sings “What I've Got In Mind” on TOP OF THE POPS (5-08-1976) introduced by the late Jimmy Saville who ironically also died this year on Oct 29, 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment