Barbara Mandrell became the first woman to be inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame at the International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis, MO on Saturday, September 5. Known as the "Sweetheart of the Steel," Mandrell was a multi-instrumentalist by the time she was 10. She was on tour with The Johnny Cash Show by age 13 and had her first Billboard chart record at age 21. Her NBC variety show, "Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters" drew nearly 40 million viewers weekly and introduced a nation to country music. Earlier this year, Mandrell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and now accepts the honor of joining the ranks of elite masters of the steel guitar.
Barbara Mandrell with Steel Guitar Hall of Fame founder DeWitt Scott ("Scotty") accepting her Hall of Fame honor on Saturday, September 5, 2009. Photo by: Donna Stroup
As the song says, Barbara was "Country When Country Wasn't Cool." She learned to read music before she could read words. Over the years, she added steel guitar, alto saxophone, bass, banjo, mandolin and Dobro to her arsenal of instruments. At age 11, her father took her to a music trade show in Chicago where she performed and caught the attention of legendary country guitarists, Chet Atkins and "Uncle" Joe Maphis. Maphis invited Barbara to join his show at the Showboat Hotel in Las Vegas, which became one of the single greatest influences on her musicianship. By the time Barbara was a teenager, she was touring with The Johnny Cash Show, which included- Cash, Patsy Cline, George Jones and June Carter.
Throughout her career she earned over 75 major awards, including two consecutive CMA Entertainer of the Year awards (1980 & 1981, making her the first artist ever to win two years in a row), CMA Female Vocalist of the Year (1979 and 1981), ACM Top Female Country Music Vocalist (1980 and 1986), NARAS Grammy Award for the Best Inspirational Performance (1983), Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance (1984), Dove Award for Gospel Album of the Year (1983) and nine People's Choice Awards (1983-1987). She is one of only six artists to have received the "Triple Crown" by winning all three of the most coveted awards, Top New Female, Top Female and Entertainer of the Year. Her autobiography, "Get to the Heart: My Story" debuted on The New York Times Best Sellers list and remained there for six months.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.