Among many achievements including “Most Promising New Female Artist” awards from Billboard, Cashbox and Record World, Jeannie Seely can claim No. 1 country songs as a solo artist, duet partner and songwriter. Her recording of “Don’t Touch Me” not only hit the top of the charts, but also earned her the 1966 Grammy Award for the “Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female”. Jeannie’s version of “Don’t Touch Me” continues to receive accolades and was ranked at No. 97 in the book "Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles".
Today Jeannie Seely chuckles when recalling her decision to move to Nashville in the fall of 1965. “It’s hard to believe,” she says, “that I only had $50 and a Ford Falcon to my name.”
Actually the petite, blonde singer had a lot more than that when she set foot in Music City. She brought along natural talent, striking intelligence, and a strong determination to turn her dreams into reality.
Less than a month after arriving, Jeannie was hired by Porter Wagoner as the female singer for his road show and television series. And despite being initially turned down by every record label in town, within six months she was in the studio recording the first of many hit songs.
In less than a year Jeannie was singing on the world-famous Grand Ole Opry which inducted her as a member on September 16, 1967. She still performs regularly on the Opry stage – and to this day the former bank secretary remains the only Pennsylvania native to be invited to join the Opry cast.
Born in Titusville, PA, and raised on a farm along a dirt road near Townville, Jeannie was tuning the family’s radio to the Opry on WSM 650 from the time she was tall enough to reach the dial. At age 11 she was singing on radio station WMGW in Meadville, and by 16 she was performing on television station WICU in Erie.
With fellow Opry member Jack Greene, Jeannie scored a No. 1 hit in 1969 with “Wish I Didn’t Have To Miss You”. That song launched one of the most popular duos and road shows in country music for over a decade.
A long list of artists have recorded songs written by Jeannie including Dottie West, Norma Jean, Tex Williams, Lorrie Morgan, Jack Greene, Connie Smith, Irma Thomas and Doyle Lawson. In 1972, Faron Young took “Leavin’ And Sayin’ Goodbye” to the No. 1 position, earning Jeannie a BMI Songwriter’s Award. In addition to Faron, other Country Music Hall of Fame members to record Jeannie’s compositions include Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb and Little Jimmy Dickens.
Early in her career, Jeannie’s deeply moving vocals solidified her reputation as a country torch singer and earned her the nickname of “Miss Country Soul”. That title is still frequently used today.
Along with placing records on the Billboard charts for 13 consecutive years, Jeannie also served as a radio disc jockey on her own Armed Forces Network Show, traveled on military tours throughout Europe and Asia, made numerous appearances on national television shows, and published her own book of witticisms.
Known throughout her career as an individualist as well as for her infectious humor, Jeannie is widely recognized for changing the image of female country performers. She’s credited for wearing the first mini-skirt on the Grand Ole Opry stage – and she was the first female to regularly host Opry segments.
The star of several major stage productions including The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and Always, Patsy Cline, Jeannie also appeared in Willie Nelson’s Honeysuckle Rose movie and sang on the platinum soundtrack album. She also had a role in the 2003 motion picture Changing Hearts and the 2004 musical-comedy production of Could It Be Love.
Jeannie continues to tour and record, and she remains one of country music’s most beloved personalities. Her recordings include a duet on Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Sweethearts album which earned the “Recorded Event of the Year” Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Jeannie released her own acoustic and bluegrass project on OMS Records titled Life’s Highway. Country Weekly magazine wrote: “Life’s Highway is a thoughtful inventive acoustic winner that’s a much-needed slap in the face for anyone who might have forgotten how Jeannie earned her gig as one of the friendliest faces on the Grand Ole Opry.”
In 2009 Jeannie received the prestigious Colonel Aide-de-Camp Award by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen; the award recognizes citizens for meritorious public service with the distinction of being included in the Honorable Order of Tennessee Colonels
In 2011 Jeannie entered her sixth decade of recording with a collection of traditional country music classics titled Vintage County.
For more information about Jeannie Seely, please visit www.JeannieSeely.com and www.Facebook.com/JeannieSeely