Few artists in the history of country music became as famous as fast as Jeannie C. Her second single, "Harper Valley P. The song also set the template for much of Riley 's career to follow, as she sang songs of the harder side of life and small-town scandal as seen through the eyes of a down-to-earth woman with a proud spirit and a strong voice buoyed by the unapologetic Texas twang of her instrument. This period of her career is well-documented on Harper Valley P. The accessible but unabashed country sound of Riley 's music took on a somewhat softer tone after she embraced Christianity in the late '70s and released albums like 's Wings to Fly and 's From Harper Valley to the Mountain Top.
The following year, she released a rileu gospel album with the same title. Riley was even better live than on recording. It won CMA single of the year. Take two. Come back next week.
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Sign in. Country singer Jeannie C. Her father was an automobile mechanic and her mother was a nurse. She married husband Mickey Riley while still in high school. The Riley family moved to Nashville, Tennessee later in the year. Jeannie worked as a secretary at Passkey Records while recording demos on the side. Her debut single "What About Them" was a flop. Hall 's composition of "Harper Valley P. At the height of her popularity in the early 's, Riley not surprisingly made guest appearances on numerous TV shows.
Following a taxing six year bought with clinical depression, Riley has bounced back and even hosts her own weekly radio show called "Inside Nashville Country". Jeannie C. Riley currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet! IMDb More. Edit Jeannie C. Showing all 10 items. She originally became a vocalist, to avoid desperation to escape her small hometown of Anson, Texas.
She is the first female vocalist, that has hit number 1, on both the rock and country charts, at the same time and same song, with "Harper Valley P. Hall , wrote earlier, in the 's decade. Her song, "Harper Valley P. She become a mother on January 11, , when her daughter and only child, Kim Michelle Riley was born. I was like a tiger in a cage. I was just waiting to get out so they could hear me roar. I didn't know I couldn't even meow.
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CR Harper Valley PTA, Part 2: Jeannie C. Riley | Cocaine & Rhinestones
Elizabeth Blair. A single mom who wears miniskirts is the scorn of a small town. Fifty years ago this month, the song "Harper Valley P. Riley the first woman to hit the top spot on both the pop and country charts.
Written by renowned country artist Tom T. Hall , "Harper Valley P. The shaming comes in the form of a snarky letter from the PTA to a single mom:. The PTA's holier-than-thou members just couldn't hold back their judgments.
Even more insulting to this mom, the letter was delivered by her teenage daughter. But the organization messed with the wrong mom. As the song tells it, Mrs. Johnson shows up at a PTA meeting wearing one of her trademark miniskirts and calls out the hypocrisy, one member at a time. Baker can you tell us why your secretary had to leave this town? In interviews, Hall has said "Harper Valley P. He says that single mom was "a free spirit" who challenged the small town's social conventions.
She too showed up at a PTA meeting and berated the members for their "indiscretions" and hypocrisy. As a boy of 9 or 10, Hall was impressed. Leave me alone. When "Harper Valley P. In , there were no federal laws prohibiting employers from firing a woman if she was pregnant.
Most women needed their husbands to co-sign to get a credit card. Between the Vietnam War and the civil rights and women's liberation movements, there was a tremendous amount of anger in the air. But in , the music business was as sexist as any other. The record label wanted to brand Riley as if she were the woman in the song.
They didn't want her mentioning her husband in interviews and they only wanted to see her perform in a miniskirt. That just wasn't me. While miniskirts were popular among young women, including fans of country music, not everyone was on board with them. Dressing in such a "scandalous" manner wasn't acceptable in more conservative venues like the Grand Ole Opry — which was a problem for Riley, whose dream was to one day perform on Nashville's legendary stage.
However, it certainly didn't bar the singer from success. She went from being a secretary to touring the country and performing on TV with Johnny Cash and her idol, Loretta Lynn. She won a Grammy in for the song. She bought a house for herself and her first husband, expensive perfumes and a new Cadillac. In , Riley became a born-again Christian and started recording gospel songs.
As for the PTA, Riley has gotten some angry letters from people accusing her of trying to hurt the association, but she wasn't. She was a member herself. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player.
Don't Tell Me! NPR Shop. Riley the first woman to top both country and pop charts. Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. September 18, PM ET. Heard on All Things Considered. Enlarge this image. Jeannie C.