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98 Country Classic Bonus: 5 Great Classic Ladies of Country Music

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Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., we take you back to country music’s roots on the 98 Country Classic Show. And we feature five additional tracks online with our 98 Country Classic Bonus. This week, we’re featuring Classic Ladies of Country — Jeannie C. Riley, Skeeter Davis, Lynn Anderson, Donna Fargo and Connie Smith.



Jeannie C. Riley



It was a hot afternoon in July 1968 and Jeannie C. Riley was working as a receptionist for Passkey Music on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee.  She closed the door at 5 p.m. and walked next door to Columbia Studios where she cut a recording of a Tom T. Hall demo —   “Harper Valley PTA.”

Riley stepped up to the mic and belted it out.

“I want to tell you a story about a Harper Valley widowed wife who had a teenage daughter who attended Harper Valley Junior High.”

It was an instant overnight hit on both the country and pop charts.



Skeeter Davis



Skeeter Davis in 1963 achieved her biggest success with country-pop crossover hit, “The End of the World.”  The song just missed topping the country and pop charts that year.  The single sold over one million copies and soon became Davis’ signature song.



Lynn Anderson



Lynn Anderson is a North Dakota girl! She was born September 26th, 1947 in Grand Forks, the daughter of Liz Anderson from Roseau, Minnesota.  Anderson’s signature song “Rose Garden” was number one for five weeks in 1970. 

“I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden.
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain sometimes.”



Donna Fargo



Donna Fargo is one of my favorites. Fargo — an English major — became a teacher at Northview High School in Covina, California.  In April 1972, she scored big with “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA.” 

“Shine on me sunshine
walk with me world,
it’s a skippidy-doo-da day,
I’m the happiest girl
in the whole U.S.A.”



Connie Smith



Connie Smith is considered by some music critics to be one of the most underrated vocalists in country music history due to her decision not to pursue super stardom.  She had many top ten hits, but only one number one hit, “Once a Day,” Smith’s signature song.

“Once a day all day long and once a night from dusk till dawn.”

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