The Secret History of Why Barbara Mandrell Seemingly Vanished
Barabara Mandrell is a two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year that few people mention when talking about the greatest women of country music, and that’s a shame.
The “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” singer was a crossover force for more than a decade, long after events that some say derailed her white-hot career. If we’re being honest, what happened immediately after said events has more to do with why no one sees or hears from Mandrell much any longer.
The diminutive Texan played an assortment of instruments with a fluency that’d make any guitar picker jealous. She sang, danced, did some acting — just flat out entertained on any stage she took, including on television for two years. A tragic car crash in 1984 changed her forever, and a lawsuit that followed tarnished her reputation at that time. But she’d still drop five Top 5 singles and cut nine more albums before calling it quits.
Why did Barbara Mandrell quit? That’s the topic of this week’s Secret History of Country Music video:
The real short answer is that Mandrell walked away for good after an October 1997 performance because she wanted to focus on family, particularly her high school aged son. She was nearing 50 years old at the time — far past the age most country singers maintain dominance on the charts. She went as far as to sell all her instruments, too, and aside from one or two tributes, she has not sung a note since.
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