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McEntire, Reba

Reba McEntire

Singer, songwriter, actress

Discovered at Rodeo

Cemented Position With Whoevers in New England

Beat Madonna

Found Solace From Grief in Music

Selected discography

Sources

Reba McEntire is not one to fall into a musical rut. While she built her reputation on traditional country music, she branched out from these roots soon after earning a few gold records. Since then, her music has blurred the lines between country and mainstream pop, and she has made forays into soul and even rhythm and blues. To McEntire, these distinctions simply dont matter. Lord knows, Im country. Given who I am and where I come from, no matter what I do, it will be country, she told Tim Allis and Jane Sanderson in People. I dont sing country songs, I dont sing pop, I sing Reba songs. No matter the material, it is McEntires remarkable voice that has made her, in the words of Stereo Reviews Alanna Nash, arguably the finest female country singer since Patsy Cline, or as Time dubbed her, the velvet-throated diva of country music. McEntire has, according to Bob Allen of Country Music, a frightfully precise and supple high-range vocal power, and in Nashs estimation, she is a no-frills singer with an uncanny gift for phrasing, a talent for sounding as if shes lived every line, and an Oklahoma accent thats as thick as warmed-over grits.

McEntire was born on March 28, 1955, and raised on a 7, 100-acre cattle ranch ten miles outside of Kiowa, Oklahoma. Both her father and grandfather were champion steer ropers, the former a three-time world champion. McEntires mother was a singer, but unlike the men in the family, did not get a chance to pursue her art professionally. Instead, she taught her children to sing. The McEntire children spent a lot of time on the road, singing and following the rodeo circuit. Reba started her professional career earlyat fiveperforming Jesus Loves Me for five cents in a hotel lobby. Throughout school she sang with her siblings, the Singing McEntires, in neighboring towns and at rodeos. In fact, Reba wasnt the only future professional in the group; her sister Susie eventually became a gospel singer. McEntire also honed her skills with the barrel racea rodeo obstacle courseat which she competed across the country. She attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University, intending to become an elementary school teacher. While studying, she continued to race, ranch, and sing.

Discovered at Rodeo

In 1974 McEntire got an unexpected breaksinging the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals. Her performance impressed country music star Red Steagall, who convinced her to record a demo tape. She was understandably apprehensive about the undertaking. But, as she explained to Jess Cagle in Entertainment Weekly, she put all fear behind her when her mother

For the Record

Born March 28, 1954, outside Kiowa, OK; daughter of Clark (a cattle rancher and rodeo steer roper) and Jacqueline (a teacher); married Charlie Battles (a rancher), 1976 (divorced, 1987); married Narvel Blackstock (a musician and artist manager), 1989; children: (first marriage) two stepsons; (second marriage) Shelby (son); three stepchildren. Education: Degree in elementary education (with minor in music), Southeastern Oklahoma State University, c. 1974.

Sang with siblings in small towns in Oklahoma as the Singing McEntires, 1960s; competed as rodeo barrel racer, 1960s-early 1970s; performed national anthem at National Rodeo Finals, Oklahoma City, OK, 1974; signed with Mercury records, 1975; released debut album, Reba McEntire, 1978; signed with MCA, 1983; released My Kind of Country, 1984; became producer, 1985; formed management company Starstruck Entertainment, c. 1989; made debut as actress, appearing in film Tremors, 1990.

Selected awards: 12 gold albums, seven platinum albums; five Country Music Association awards, nine Academy of Country Music awards, nine American Music awards, three Peoples Choice awards; six awards from Music City News; Grammy Award for best female country vocal performance, 1987, for My Kind of Country.

Addresses: Home Nashville, TN. Record company MCA, 1514 South St., Nashville, TN 37212. Management Starstruck Entertainment, P.O. Box 121996, Nashville, TN 37212.

revealed, What youre fixing to do, Im living my dreams through you. In 1975 McEntire signed with Mercury Records. She wowed observers at her first recording session. According to Entertainment Weekly, Her clear contralto was so big it nearly blew out the studio transistors. McEntire remembered the event thus: It was a real pretty ballad, and when I got to the powerful part, I stayed right on the microphone and the needles just disappeared. They asked me to back up.

As her career took off, McEntire married Charlie Battlesanother national steer wrestling champion and rancherwho managed her career while they also ran a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. She recorded a few singles, but they didnt go far. Mercury released her first album, Reba McEntire, in 1978, but she only had minor hits until she teamed with singer Jacky Ward to record a number of duets. The first of these, Three Sheets in the WindTId Really Love to See You Tonight, reached the Top Twenty. With this boost, solo hits followed(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven, Today All Over Again, and a cover version of Sweet Dreams, a song made classic by Patsy Cline.

But throughout the early 1980s, McEntire could not hit Number One. To Stereo Review contributor Nash, the reasons were obvious; executives at Mercury tried their darndest to obscure McEntires natural assets, packaging a genuine country article as a city sophisticate. They dressed her in evening gowns, painted her with makeup, and had her try a variety of musical styles, though what she really wanted was to sing traditional country. Her image was so malleable that recognizing McEntire from one project to the next was not easy. In spite of these marketing gaffs, McEntire finally hit the top spot, in 1983, with I Cant Even Get the Blues and Youre the First Time Ive Thought About Leaving and pleased critics with the record Behind the Scenes.

However, little changed until McEntire took her career into her own hands and in 1983, moved to MCA and began choosing her own material. She soon traded the evening gowns for jeans, cowgirl skirts, and the belt buckle she received for singing the national anthem at the rodeo finals. In 1984 she released the aptly titled My Kind of Country. The album was, in the words of People s Ralph Novak, straightforward country. Billboard dubbed McEntire the finest woman country singer since Kitty Wells, and reviewers likened her to her idol, Patsy Cline. My Kind of Country produced two Number One hitsHow Blue and Somebody Should Leaveand was McEntires first gold album. 1984 also brought McEntire her first major award, the Country Music Associations female vocalist of the year nod. The CMA honored her with the same award the following year, as did the Academy of Country Music and Music City News, and Rolling Stones critics put her on their list of Top Five country artists. With 1985s Have I Got a Deal for You, McEntire took another giant leap in her career by becoming her own co-producer. The album also boasted the first song she wrote on her own, Only in My Mind, which Rolling Stone deemed a promising debut.

Cemented Position With Whoevers in New England

If there was anyone in country music who hadnt noticed McEntire by 1986, the release of Whoevers in New England got their attention. The album earned a 1987 Grammy Award for best female country vocal performance, among other laurels, and a gold album. Theres something about the catch and quaver in McEntires voice that suggests the purest kind of country sound, Ralph Novak observed in his People review of the album. Nash placed McEntire in very good company, allowing, She has confirmed her place alongside Wynette and Wells as one of the foremost woman singers in the history of country music.

Whoevers in New England cemented McEntires place in country musicevery subsequent album she released went gold. Ironically, the album also marked the beginning of her departure from traditional country music and transition into what Country Musics Allen called Yuppie Country. As her choice of music changed, her audience grew and broadened to include fans outside country music, though the singer did not yet move far enough to alienate traditionalists. Whoevers in New England also established McEntires skills as a video artist when the albums title track video won the Academy of Country Musics award for video of the year and the Music City News award for country music video of the year. By the time she released her next album, What Am I Gonna Do About You, it seemed that critics had already begun to take her superiority for granted. Novak dubbed the album routinely excellent. Though she would soon change her tune, Nash proclaimed McEntire the only modern female vocalist loyal to the true country tradition.

1987 brought even more changes to McEntires life and music. She and Battles divorced, and she immediately moved to Nashville, later explaining to Allen, I had to pack everything in one day and leave. I was totally starting over. Instead of explaining her personal life to her fans, she put the emotions of the broken marriage into her next album, The Last One to Know. The result demonstrated that even in the grip of personal turmoil, McEntire could produce stunning music. In Rolling Stone, Rob Tannenbaum called the album McEntires best effort to date. Nash was also pleased; she called The Last One to Know another winner of a record and found that McEntire [displayed] even more confidence in her already powerful delivery, nailing her notes with greater clarity, and honing a style that is at once urgent, emotional and forceful.

Beat Madonna

Soon McEntire began to take even more control of her career, her music continuing to move away from traditional country. Some critics were less than thrilled. Nash for one, found little to praise; reviewing McEntires 1988 album, Reba, in Stereo Review, she complained, After years of insisting that shed stick to hard-core country because I have tried the contemporary-type songs, and its not Reba McEntireits just not honest, McEntire... has gone whole-hog pop. Okay, so maybe thats not so terrible. But her rendition of the soul classic Respect is. Frustrated by the album, Nash called it a disappointing bore, a waste of an exhilarating voice, and a somewhat disturbing harbinger of the fate of country musics traditionalist movement. Fortunately for McEntire, her rapidly growing audience did not agree; her rendition of Respect was a big hit in concert, and in 1988 she was named in a Gallup youth survey as one of teenagers Top Ten favorite female vocalistsshe was the only country singer on the list. Even more outstanding was a 1989 People poll in which readers voted her their second-favorite female vocalistbehind Barbra Streisand, but ahead of pop superstars Madonna, Cher, and Whitney Houston.

In 1989 McEntire married her manager, Narvel Blackstock, on a boat in Lake Tahoe, and together they built a business. Dubbed Starstruck Entertainment, it brought together all aspects of McEntires careermanagement, booking, publishing, promotion, publicity, accounting, ticket sales, and the administration of her fan club. Eventually, the company would grow to include a horse farm and jet charter service, as well as trucking, construction, and book publishing divisions.

By 1990 McEntire had discarded her leather cowgirl skirts, her fiddles, and her steel guitar. On stage, she donned sequins, flowing gowns, big hair... flashy costume changes, blue lights and synthesizers, according to Allen. Though impressed by McEntires changes, the Country Music scribe was disappointed in her glitzy, hip, high-tech, and flashily new age performance. The show smacks of Las Vegas, intricately choreographed, thoroughly rehearsed, and utterly lacking in warmth or spontaneity. Its as if, sad to say, Reba has gone corporate with her music. Despite such comments, McEntire had no regrets about her transformation; in fact, she was delighted. Im happier, more confidentthough as you can see I still dress in jeans and denim, she told Allen. Im not so dead set on making everyone else happy and pleased. I dont listen to anybodys input as much as I listen to my own gut feeling. And in her view, she had not rejected traditional country. I want to do what sells... I want to do what the majority of the public likes to hear, she explained. The funny thing of it is... they all say they want me to go back to traditional country. But the majority of people obviously dont want to hear me sing traditional, even though I love to sing it and could probably sit and do it all my life.

Rumor Has It, released in 1990, gave McEntire a chance to win back some critical praise. Though Allen found the recording predictable in places, he believed she still leaves most of the competition in the dust. The album also brought Stereo Reviews Nash back into McEntires camp; she called Rumor glorious and while finding little there for the traditionalist, she noted that McEntire shines so brilliantlyregaining her good judgment and take-charge attitude, and communicating with everything she hasthat she is bound to win over her recent critics. Rumor Has It is a powerhouse recording that should put McEntire back on top where she belongs. Indeed, the album went platinum, selling over one million copies.

In 1991at the top of her career, with a successful corporation and a new baby boy, ShelbyMcEntire had the rug pulled out from under her. On March 16th, her tour manager and six members of her band were killed when their plane crashed on Otay Mountain in California. McEntire turned to music to assuage her grief, responding with For My Broken Heart, released late in the year. While it did not address the tragedy directly, it was a sorrow-filled work that explores all measure of suffering, as Nash wrote in Entertainment Weekly.

Found Solace From Grief in Music

For My Broken Heart is charged with quiet, restrained emotion. Its a moving reminder of how Reba excels at conveying the complexities of adult feeling and relationships, Michael McCall wrote in Country Music. In the same publication, George Fletcher predicted that it would be her career album and assessed, She wrapped her magnificent voice around a good collection of songs, putting her heart and soul front and center. The disc also demonstrated McEntires talent at reinterpreting well-known material; singing Vicki Lawrences hit The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, she made the campy white-trash song, as Nash described it, chilling and believable. In McCalls eyes, For My Broken Heart was an affirmation of musics ability to probe ticklishly complicated topics in a powerful, universal way. It also reaffirms that Reba McEntire is a remarkable talent. Heart sold two million copies in nine months. By then McEntire was responsible for more album sales than any performer ever signed to MCAs Nashville division. Still, success did not mitigate the tragedy. After the crash McEntire would find herself in the middle of a performance, turning to face the band and experiencing the shock all over again. I expect other faces, she told Mary H. J. Farrell and Sanderson in People.

McEntire followed For My Broken Heart with Its Your Call in 1992, explaining in the albums liner notes that it was the second chapter. Its Your Call was another commercial triumph, selling over two million copies within the year. Critical reaction to the record, however, was mixed, many reviewers comparing it unfavorably to For My Broken Heart. The truth is, it isnt nearly as pessimistic as its predecessorand unfortunately it isnt anywhere as involving, Nash complained in Entertainment Weekly. Country Musics Fletcher called the first three cutsthe title track, Straight From You, and Take It Backsuperb, but he bemoaned the generally weaker batch of songs and an over-reliance on similar-type ballads that dont really allow Reba the room to stretch. In Time, Christopher John Farley agreed, opining, Its Your Call is marred by unadventurous arrangements... she should have been willing to shear away the instrumentation, tasteful as it is, and expose her voice and all the raw hurt it bears.

Nonetheless, McEntires critics managed to find some praise. Qualifying her comments, Nash wrote, Yet with even the most mediocre song, McEntire is a commanding performer. Singing straighter these days, without so many vocal frills, she almost succeeds in turning average material into something extraordinary. In Stereo Review, Ron Givens concurred, noting, These smooth-as-butter arrangements could easily be mistaken for TV ads or elevator music if it werent for that crystalline voice breaking over and over again.

Reviewing Its Your Call, Farley also observed, On this album McEntire adds something special: a sort of time-to-put-myself-first feminism. This was actually not new, but something McEntire had developed for years. Throughout her career she had addressed most of her songs to women, celebrating, commiserating, and empowering. She is also willing to confront head-on the lives of contemporary women, addressing such topics as spousal abuse, in The Stairs, or the difficulties of returning to school as a parent, in Is There Life Out There. At her concerts many women have told her that the video for the latter song inspired them to get their degrees. I do think Ive made a conscious effort to record more songs for women, she told Holly Gleason in Ladies Home Journal. Its about time someone focused on them. I think women are special, and I want to make them realize that.

As if McEntire didnt have enough on her plate, during the late 1980s and early 90s she began building an acting career. Noted for her ability to convey character through her singing, she had developed this skill further in videos. According to a 1993 MCA press release, she enjoys using video to explore the ambiguities of songs instead of as vehicles for simple retelling and to create mini-movies. In 1992, Billboard reported that her enthusiasm did not thrill executives at Country Music Television, though, who complained to MCA that the video of Is There Life Out There was too long and featured too much dialogue. Still, the clip won the Academy of Country Musics video of the year award in 1992, and critics hailed McEntires efforts. Billboards Edward Morris reported, Many of her music videos are so finely conceived and executed that they become works of art quite separate and distinct from the songs that inspired them.

McEntires acting did not stop at videos. In 1989 she appeared on television, co-hosting Good Morning America. She followed this with a stab at the big screen, earning kudos for her portrayal of an arsenal-wielding survivalist in the 1990 camp horror film Tremors. She then joined fellow country singer Kenny Rogers in televisions The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw in 1991, starred with Burt Reynolds in the small screens The Man From Left Field in 1993, and returned to theaters, filming North with director Rob Reiner.

By the mid-1990s it was abundantly clear that trying to pigeonhole McEntire was an essay in futility. She did not always please all her fans and critics, but she certainly kept them interested. In 1986, Nash made an observation in Stereo Review that characterized not only McEntires music, but her entire career: One of the great surprises about McEntire is that on first listening to one of her records, you miss about half of what shes doing because theres so much quality stuff happening.... But about the third time around, it starts to hit you just how first-rate McEntires approach is. Billboards Morris agreed that there is much more to McEntire than anyone first thought, venturing, Few artist are as exciting to us five or 10 years into their careers as they were at the moment we discovered them. With Reba McEntire, its just the opposite. Certainly, her music was alluring when she made her recording debut... but it is infinitely more spellbinding now.

Fired by her love of music and competition, there seemed no course McEntire would not pursue. Im very competitive, she told televisions 20/20 in 1993, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. I want to beat the boys. I want to beat the girls. I want to beat rock & roll. This seemed quite possible when that year Its Your Call reached the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 pop album chart and her Greatest Hits Volume 2 debuted on Billboards chart at Number Eight, peaking at Number Five. In 1985, McEntire had told Nash in a Stereo Review interview that she didnt feel she was yet a star. Naw, she corrected, Im still just a twinkle. In 1994, with another feature film in the can, her albums staking their claim on various charts, and Bantam Books forking over a seven-figure advance for an autobiography, the omnipresent McEntire, as Nash dubbed her in Entertainment Weekly, was clearly more than just a twinkle. The only remaining question was just how she would redefine the boundaries of stardom.

Selected discography

Singles; on Mercury

Three Sheets in the Wind/Id Really Love to See You Tonight, 1979.

Sweet Dreams, 1979.

(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven, 1980.

Youre the First Time I Thought About Leaving, 1983.

Albums

Reba McEntire, Mercury, 1978.

Out of a Dream, Mercury, 1979.

Feel the Fire, Mercury, 1980.

Heart to Heart, Mercury, 1981.

Unlimited (includes I Cant Even Get the Blues), Mercury, 1982.

Behind the Scenes, Mercury, 1983.

Just a Little Love, MCA, 1984.

My Kind of Country (includes How Blue and Somebody Should Leave), MCA, 1984.

Have I Got a Deal for You, MCA, 1985.

Whoevers in New England (includes Whoevers in New England), MCA, 1986.

What Am I Gonna Do About You, MCA, 1986.

Reba McEntires Greatest Hits, MCA, 1987.

The Best of Reba McEntire: 1980-1983, Mercury/Polygram, 1987.

The Last One to Know, MCA, 1987.

Merry Christmas to You, MCA, 1987.

Reba (includes Respect), MCA, 1988.

Sweet Sixteen, MCA, 1989.

Reba Live!, MCA, 1989.

Rumor Has It, MCA, 1990.

For My Broken Heart (includes The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia and Is There Life Out There), MCA, 1991.

Its Your Call (includes Its Your Call, Straight From You, and Take It Back), MCA, 1992.

Greatest Hits Volume 2, MCA, 1993.

(Contributor) Since I Fell for You, Rhythm Country & Blues, MCA, 1994.

Sources

Books

Bufwack, Mary A., and Robert K. Oermann, Finding Her Voice: The Saga of Women in Country Music, Crown, 1993.

Stambler, Irwin, and Grelun Landon, The Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western Music, St. Martins, 1983.

Periodicals

Billboard, June 10, 1989; February 1, 1992; May 8, 1993; September 4, 1993.

Country Music, November/December 1990; July/August 1991; January/February 1992; May/June 1992; July/August 1992; November/December 1992; January/February 1993; March/April 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, October 11, 1991; March 20, 1992; December 18, 1992; July 30, 1993, October 8, 1993; October 29, 1993.

High Fidelity, March 1985.

LadiesHome Journal, November 1988; March 1994.

People, April 23, 1984; December 17, 1984; March 31, 1986; October 27, 1986; June 5, 1989; September 18, 1989; November 4, 1991; July 26, 1993.

Rolling Stone, August 29, 1985; December 3, 1987.

Time, June 19, 1989; January 22, 1990; January 25, 1993.

Recording Industry Association of America News, August 3, 1993.

Stereo Review, March 1984; April 1985; August 1985; July 1986; December 1986; December 1987; August 1988; January 1990; April 1993.

Wabash Plain Dealer (IN), March 18, 1992.

Womans Day, November 3, 1992.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from liner notes to Its Your Call, MCA, 1992, and an MCA press release, 1993.

Megan Rubiner Zinn

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McEntire, Reba

Reba McEntire

Singer, songwriter

Recorded First Album

Dealt with Personal Turmoil in Song

Transformed Look Onstage

Tragic Loss of Group Members

Began Building Acting Career

Still Creating Hits

Selected discography

Sources

While Reba McEntire built her reputation on traditional country music, she branched out from these roots soon after earning a few gold records. Since then, her music has blurred the lines between country and mainstream pop, and she has made forays into soul and even rhythm and blues. No matter the material, it is McEntires remarkable voice that has made her, in the words of Stereo Reviews Alanna Nash, arguably the finest female country singer since Patsy Cline, or as Time dubbed her, the velvet-throated diva of country music.

McEntire was born on March 28, 1954, and raised on a 7,100-acre cattle ranch ten miles outside of Kiowa, Oklahoma. Both her father and grandfather were champion steer ropers, the former a three-time world champion. McEntires mother was a singer, but unlike the men in the family, did not get a chance to pursue her art professionally. Instead, she taught her children to sing. The McEntire children spent a lot of time on the road, singing and following the rodeo circuit. Reba started her professional career earlyat fiveperforming Jesus Loves Me for five cents in a hotel lobby. Throughout school she sang with her siblings, the Singing McEntires, in neighboring towns and at rodeos. McEntire also honed her skills with the barrel racea rodeo obstacle courseat which she competed across the country. She attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University, intending to become an elementary school teacher. While studying, she continued to race, ranch, and sing.

In 1974 McEntire got an unexpected breaksinging the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals. Her performance impressed country music star Red Steagall, who convinced her to record a demo tape. In 1975 McEntire signed with Mercury Records. She wowed observers at her first recording session. According to Entertainment Weekly, Her clear contralto was so big it nearly blew out the studio transistors. McEntire remembered the event this way: It was a real pretty ballad, and when I got to the powerful part, I stayed right on the microphone and the needles just disappeared. They asked me to back up.

Recorded First Album

As her career took off, McEntire married Charlie Battlesanother national steer wrestling champion and rancherwho Manáged her career while they also ran a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. She recorded a few singles, but they didnt go far. Mercury released her first album, Reba McEntire, in 1978, but she only had minor hits until she teamed with singer Jacky Ward to record a number of duets. Throughout the early 1980s, McEntire could not hit number one. To Stereo Review contributor Alanna Nash, the reasons were obvious; executives at Mercury tried their darndest to obscure McEntires natural assets, packaging a genuine country article as a city sophisticate. In spite of these

For the Record

Born on March 28, 1954, outside Kiowa, OK; daughter of Clark (a cattle rancher and rodeo steer roper) and Jacqueline (a teacher); married Charlie Battles (a rancher), 1976; divorced, 1987; married Narvel Blackstock (a musician and artist Manáger), 1989; children: (first marriage) two stepsons; (second marriage) Shelby (son); three stepchildren. Education: Degree in elementary education (with minor in music), Southeastern Oklahoma State University, c. 1974.

Sang with siblings in small towns in Oklahoma as the Singing McEntires, 1960s; competed as rodeo barrel racer, 1960s-early 1970s; performed national anthem at National Rodeo Finals, Oklahoma City, OK, 1974; signed with Mercury Records, 1975; released debut album, Reba McEntire, 1978; signed with MCA, 1983; released My Kind of Country, 1984; became producer, 1985; formed Manágement company Starstruck Entertainment, c. 1989; made debut as actress, appearing in film Tremors, 1990; released several albums during the 1990s, including Rumor Has It, 1990, For My Broken Heart, 1991, Its Your Call, 1992, Oklahoma Girl, 1994, Starting Over, 1995, What If Its You, 1995, If You See Him, 1998, So Good Together, 1999, and Ill Be, 2001; appeared in Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun, 2001; star of own sitcom on the Warner Bros. television network, 2001.

Awards: Six Country Music Association Awards, ten Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 American Music Awards, eight Peoples Choice Awards; six Music City News Awards; Grammy Award, Best Female Country Vocal Performance for My Kind of Country, 1987, and Best Country Vocal Collaboration for Does He Love You (duet with Linda Davis), 1994; British Country Music Awards, Best International Female Artist, 1999.

Addresses: Record company MCA, 1514 South St., Nashville, TN 37212. Management Starstruck Entertainment, P.O. Box 121996, Nashville, TN 37212. Website Reba McEntire Official Website: http://www.reba.com.

marketing gaffs, McEntire finally hit the top spot in 1983 with I Cant Even Get the Blues and Youre the First Time Ive Thought About Leaving and pleased critics with the record Behind the Scenes.

However, little changed until McEntire took her career into her own hands and in 1983, moved to MCA, and began choosing her own material. In 1984 she released the aptly titled My Kind of Country. The album was, in the words of Peoples Ralph Novak, straightforward country. Billboard dubbed McEntire the finest woman country singer since Kitty Wells, and reviewers likened her to her idol, Patsy Cline. My Kind of Country produced two number-one hitsHow Blue and Somebody Should Leaveand was McEntires first gold album. 1984 also brought McEntire her first major award, the Country Music Associations Female Vocalist of the Year nod. The CMA honored her with the same award the following year, as did the Academy of Country Music and Music City News, and Rolling Stones critics put her on their list of top five country artists. With 1985s Have I Got a Deal for You, McEntire took another giant leap in her career by becoming her own co-producer. The album also boasted the first song she wrote on her own, Only in My Mind, which Rolling Stone deemed a promising debut.

If there was anyone in country music who hadnt noticed McEntire by 1986, the release of Whoevers in New England got their attention. The album earned a 1987 Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, among other laurels. The album also marked the beginning of McEntires departure from traditional country music and transition into what Country Musics Allen called Yuppie Country. As her choice of music changed, her audience grew and broadened to include fans outside country music, though the singer did not yet move far enough to alienate traditionalists.

Dealt with Personal Turmoil in Song

1987 brought even more changes to McEntires life and music. She and Battles divorced, and she immediately moved to Nashville, later explaining to Bob Allen of Country Music, I had to pack everything in one day and leave. I was totally starting over. Instead of explaining her personal life to her fans, she put the emotions of the broken marriage into her next album, The Last One to Know. The result demonstrated that even in the grip of personal turmoil, McEntire could produce stunning music.

Soon McEntire began to take even more control of her career, her music continuing to move away from traditional country. Some critics were less than thrilled. Nash for one, found little to praise; reviewing Mc-Entires 1988 album, Reba, in Stereo Review, she complained, After years of insisting that shed stick to hard-core country because I have tried the contemp-orary-type songs, and its not Reba McEn-tireits just not honest, McEntire has gone whole-hog pop. Okay, so maybe thats not so terrible. But her rendition of the soul classic Respect is. Frustrated by the album, Nash called it a disappointing bore, a waste of an exhilarating voice, and a somewhat disturbing harbinger of the fate of country musics traditionalist movement. Fortunately for McEntire, her rapidly growing audience did not agree.

In 1989 McEntire married her Manáger, Narvel Black-stock, on a boat in Lake Tahoe, and together they built a business. Dubbed Starstruck Entertainment, it brought together all aspects of McEntires careermanagement, booking, publishing, promotion, publicity, accounting, ticket sales, and the administration of her fan club. Eventually, the company would grow to include a horse farm and jet charter service, as well as trucking, construction, and book publishing divisions.

Transformed Look Onstage

By 1990 McEntire had discarded her leather cowgirl skirts, her fiddles, and her steel guitar. Onstage, she donned sequins, flowing gowns, big hair flashy costume changes, blue lights and synthesizers, according to Allen. Though impressed by McEntires changes, the Country Music scribe was disappointed in her glitzy, hip, high-tech, and flashily new age performance. Despite such comments, McEntire had no regrets about her transformation. Im happier, more confidentthough as you can see I still dress in jeans and denim, she told Allen. Im not so dead set on making everyone else happy and pleased. I dont listen to anybodys input as much as I listen to my own gut feeling.

Rumor Has It, released in 1990, gave McEntire a chance to win back some critical praise. Though Allen found the recording predictable in places, he believed she still leaves most of the competition in the dust. The album also brought Stereo Reviews Nash back into McEntires camp; she called Rumor glorious and while finding little there for the traditionalist, she noted that McEntire shines so brilliantlyregaining her good judgment and take-charge attitude, and communicating with everything she hasthat she is bound to win over her recent critics. Rumor Has It is a powerhouse recording that should put McEntire back on top where she belongs. Indeed, the album went multiplatinum in 1999, selling more than three million copies.

Tragic Loss of Group Members

In 1991at the top of her career, with a successful corporation and a new baby boy, ShelbyMcEntire had the rug pulled out from under her. On March 16th, her tour Manáger and six members of her band were killed when their plane crashed on Otay Mountain in California. McEntire turned to music to assuage her grief, responding with For My Broken Heart, released late in the year. While it did not address the tragedy directly, it was a sorrow-filled work that explores all measure of suffering, as Nash wrote in Entertainment Weekly. Heart sold two million copies in nine months. By then McEntire was responsible for more album sales than any performer ever signed to MCAs Nashville division. Still, success did not mitigate the tragedy. After the crash McEntire would find herself in the middle of a performance, turning to face the band and experiencing the shock all over again. I expect other faces, she told People.

McEntire followed For My Broken Heart with Its Your Call in 1992, explaining in the albums liner notes that it was the second chapter. Its Your Call was another commercial triumph, selling over two million copies within the year. Critical reaction to the record, however, was mixed, many reviewers comparing it unfavorably to For My Broken Heart. The truth is, it isnt nearly as pessimistic as its predecessorand unfortunately it isnt anywhere as involving, Nash complained in Entertainment Weekly. Country Musids Fletcher called the first three cutsthe title track, Straight From You, and Take It Backsuperb, but he bemoaned the generally weaker batch of songs and an over-reliance on similar-type ballads that dont really allow Reba the room to stretch. In Time, Christopher John Farley agreed, opining, Its Your Call is marred by unadven-turous arrangements she should have been willing to shear away the instrumentation, tasteful as it is, and Exposé her voice and all the raw hurt it bears. Nonetheless, McEntires critics Manáged to find some praise. Qualifying her comments, Nash wrote, Yet with even the most mediocre song, McEntire is a commanding performer. Singing straighter these days, without so many vocal frills, she almost succeeds in turning average material into something extraordinary. Reviewing Its Your Call, Farley also observed, On this album McEntire adds something special: a sort of time-to-put-myself-first feminism. This was actually not new, but something McEntire had developed for years. I do think Ive made a conscious effort to record more songs for women, she told Holly Gleason in Ladies Home Journal. Its about time someone focused on them. I think women are special, and I want to make them realize that.

Began Building Acting Career

As if McEntire didnt have enough on her plate, during the late 1980s and early 1990s she began building an acting career. Noted for her ability to convey character through her singing, she had developed this skill further in videos. According to a 1993 MCA press release, she enjoys using video to explore the ambiguities of songs instead of as vehicles for simple retelling and to create mini-movies. In 1992, Billboard reported that her enthusiasm did not thrill executives at Country Music Television, though, who complained to MCA that the video of Is There Life Out There was too long and featured too much dialogue. Still, the clip won the Academy of Country Musics video of the year award in 1992, and critics hailed McEntires efforts. Billboards Edward Morris reported, Many of her music videos are so finely conceived and executed that they become works of art quite separate and distinct from the songs that inspired them.

McEntires acting did not stop at videos. In 1989 she appeared on television, co-hosting Good Morning America. She followed this with a stab at the big screen, earning kudos for her portrayal of an arsenal-wielding survivalist in the 1990 camp horror film Tremors. She then joined fellow country singer Kenny Rogers in televisions The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw in 1991, starred with Burt Reynolds in the small screens The Man From Left Field in 1993, and returned to theaters, filming North with director Rob Reiner. In 1994, with another feature film in the can, her albums staking their claim on various charts, and Bantam Books forking over a seven-figure advance for an autobiography, the omnipresent McEntire, as Nash dubbed her in Entertainment Weekly, was clearly more than just a twinkle.

Still Creating Hits

In 1995, McEntire released Starting Over, a collection of the singers favorite songs from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s that she chose to cover for the album. In 1996 she released What If Its You, featuring the single The Fear of Being Alone. To have 10 such powerful songs on one album makes it very special, said MCA Nashville chairman Bruce Hinton in Billboard. There are so many writers and so many great songs in Nashville, and Reba has collected her disproportionate share. Shes country country musics female artist of the 90s. McEntire released If You See Him in 1998 and The Secret of Giving: A Christmas Collection a year later, as well as So Good Together.

McEntires album sales have continued to soar, and her career as an actress is an overwhelming success. In 2001 she took Broadway by storm when she made her debut as the star character, Annie Oakley, in a revival production of Annie Get Your Gun. People reported that New York Times chief drama critic Ben Brantley said, Reba inhabits the part as completely as anyone Ive seen in a musical in recent years. McEntire did not stop with Broadway. The star entered the Hollywood scene with her own television sitcom called Reba, which debuted in 2001 on the Warner Bros. network. Reba became the networks highest-rated show for adults ages 18-49 since 1996. McEntire released another album in May of 2001 titled lll Be.

Selected discography

Reba McEntire, Mercury, 1978.

Out of a Dream, Mercury, 1979.

Feel the Fire, Mercury, 1980.

Heart to Heart, Mercury, 1981.

Unlimited, Mercury, 1982.

Behind the Scenes, Mercury, 1983.

Just a Little Love, MCA, 1984.

My Kind of Country, MCA, 1984.

Have I Got a Deal for You, MCA, 1985.

Whoevers in New England, MCA, 1986.

What Am I Gonna Do About You, MCA, 1986.

Reba McEntires Greatest Hits, MCA, 1987.

The Best of Reba McEntire: 1980-1983, Mercury/Polygram, 1987.

The Last One to Know, MCA, 1987.

Merry Christmas to You, MCA, 1987.

Reba, MCA, 1988.

Sweet Sixteen, MCA, 1989.

Reba Live!, MCA, 1989.

Rumor Has It, MCA, 1990.

For My Broken Heart, MCA, 1991.

Its Your Call, MCA, 1992.

Greatest Hits Volume 2, MCA, 1993.

(Contributor) Since I Fell for You, Rhythm Country & Blues, MCA, 1994.

Read my Mind, MCA, 1994.

Oklahoma Girl, Mercury, 1994.

Starting Over, MCA, 1995.

What If Its You, MCA, 1996.

If You See Him, MCA, 1998.

The Secret of Giving: A Christmas Collection, MCA, 1999.

So Good Together, MCA, 1999.

Ill Be, MCA, 2001.

Sources

Books

Bufwack, Mary A., and Robert K. Oermann, Finding Her Voice: The Saga of Women in Country Music, Crown, 1993.

Stambler, Irwin, and Grelun Landon, The Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western Music, St. Martins, 1983.

Periodicals

Billboard, June 10, 1989; February 1, 1992; May 8, 1993; September 4, 1993; October 19, 1996.

Country Music, November/December 1990; July/August 1991; January/February 1992; May/June 1992; July/August 1992; November/December 1992; January/February 1993; March/April 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, October 11, 1991; March 20, 1992; December 18, 1992; July 30, 1993, October 8, 1993; October 29, 1993.

High Fidelity, March 1985.

Ladies Home Journal, November 1988; March 1994.

People, April 23, 1984; December 17, 1984; March 31, 1986; October 27, 1986; June 5, 1989; September 18, 1989; November 4, 1991; July 26, 1993; June 4, 2001.

Recording Industry Association of America News, August 3, 1993.

Rolling Stone, August 29, 1985; December 3, 1987.

Stereo Review, March 1984; April 1985; August 1985; July 1986; December 1986; December 1987; August 1988; January 1990; April 1993.

Time, June 19, 1989; January 22, 1990; January 25, 1993.

Wabash Plain Dealer (IN), March 18, 1992. Womans Day, November 3, 1992.

Additional information was obtained from liner notes to Its Your Call, MCA, 1992, and an MCA press release, 1993.

Megan Rubiner Zinn

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McEntire, Reba 1955–

McEntire, Reba 1955–

(Reba Blackstock, Reba)

PERSONAL

Full name, Reba Nell McEntire; born March 28, 1955, in McAlester, OK; daughter of Clark Vincent (a cattle rancher and rodeo performer) and Jacqueline (a teacher; maiden name, Smith) McEntire; sister of Susie Luchsinger (a singer); married Charlie Battles (a rancher and rodeo performer), June 21, 1976 (divorced, 1987); married Narvel Blackstock (a musician and manager), June 3, 1989; children: (first marriage) two stepsons; (second marriage) Shelby Steven, three stepchildren. Education: Southeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., elementary student education and music, 1976. Avocational Interests: Family activities, golf, raising and racing horses, shopping.

Addresses:

Office—Starstruck Entertainment, 40 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. Agent—Endeavor, 9601 Wilshire Blvd., 3rd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

Career:

Singer, songwriter, recording artist, producer, and actress. Performed with the Singing McEntires as a teenager; Starstruck Entertainment, Nashville, TN, cofounder, c. 1988; member of Grand Ole Opry; concert performer, including appearance at Carnegie Hall, 1987; host of special Internet broadcast, The Carols of Christmas, Everstream.com, 2000; appeared in television commercials including Frito Lays snack foods and Dr. Pepper beverages. Spokesperson for charitable causes, including American Lung Association, Middle Tennessee United Way, national 4-H Clubs of America, and Bob Hope's Hope for a Drug-Free America. Also performed in rodeo competitions and competed in barrel racing.

Member:

Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Nashville Songwriters Association.

Awards, Honors:

Named female artist of the year, TNN Music City News, annually, 1985-89; named female vocalist of the year, Country Music Association, annually, 1984-87; named top female vocalist of the year, Academy of Country Music, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, and 1994; named entertainer of the year, Country Music Association, 1986; Academy of Country Music Award, video of the year, 1986, and award for country music video of the year, TNN Music City News, 1987, both for Whoever's in New England; Grammy Award, best female country vocal performance, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1987; American Music Award, favorite country female video artist, 1987; National Association of Recording Merchandisers Award, best-selling country album by a female artist, 1987; American Music Awards, favorite female country artist, annually, 1988-96, and 1998; Academy of Country Music Award, video of the year, 1991, for Is There Life Out There?; American Music Award, favorite country album, 1991, for Reba Live!; People's Choice Awards, favorite female country performer, 1992, 1994, and 1995, and favorite female musical performer, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998; named favorite female vocalist, Viewer's Choice Awards, TNN Music City News, 1992, 1993, and 1995; American Music Award, favorite country album, 1993, for For My Broken Heart; Grammy Award (with Linda Davis), best country vocal collaboration, Country Music Association Award, best vocal event, and Viewer's Choice Award, TNN Music City News, best vocal collaboration, all 1994, for "Does He Love You"; named entertainer of the year, Academy of Country Music, 1994; named favorite female country artist, Billboard, 1994; Country Radio Awards, best female vocalist and entertainer of the year, both 1994; American Music Award, favorite country album, 1995, for Read My Mind; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite female country artist, 1995; Golden Pick Award, Country Weekly, favorite female artist, 1997; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite album by a female country artist, 1997, for What If It's You; Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award, Viewer's Choice Awards, TNN Music City News, 1998; received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1998; Humanitarian Award, Country Radio Broadcasters, 1999; International Artist Achievement Award, Country Music Association, 2000; named best-selling female country singer of all time, Recording Industry Association of America, 2000; Grammy Award nomination, best short form music video, 2001, for "What Do You Say?"; TNN Country Weekly Award nominations, female artist of the year, Impact Award, and video of the year award, all 2001, for "I'll Be"; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite female country artist, 2001, for So Good Together; Special Drama Desk Award and Theatre World Award, outstanding new performer, 2001, both for Annie Get Your Gun; People's Choice Award, favorite female performer in a new television series, 2002, for Reba; Johnny Cash Visionary Award, Country Music Television, 2004; numerous gold and platinum records, Recording Industry Association of America; distinguished alumni award, Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

CREDITS

Television Appearances; Series:

Voice of Artemis, goddess of the wilderness, Hercules (animated; also known as Disney's "Hercules"), ABC and syndicated, 1998.

Reba Hart, Reba, 2001-2007.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Burgundy Jones, The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, NBC, 1991.

Annie Oakley, Buffalo Girls, CBS, 1995.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Nancy Lee Prinzi, The Man from Left Field, CBS, 1993.

Lily Marshall, Is There Life Out There?, CBS, 1994.

Lizzie Brooks, Forever Love, CBS, 1998.

Rose Cameron, Secret of Giving, CBS, 1999.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Country Gold, CBS, 1982.

The 18th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1984.

The 19th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1985.

The Academy of Country Music's 20th Anniversary Reunion, NBC, 1986.

The 60th Anniversary of the Grand Old Opry, CBS, 1986.

The 28th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1986.

Host, The 21st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1986.

The 20th Annual Music City News Country Awards, syndicated, 1986.

The American Music Awards, ABC, 1987.

The 22nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, 1987.

The 21st Annual Music City News Country Awards, syndicated, 1987.

Bob Hope Winterfest Christmas Show, NBC, 1987.

Host, The 23rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1988.

The 22nd Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1988.

Season's Greetings: An Evening with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, 1988.

Happy Birthday, Bob—50 Stars Salute Your 50 Years with NBC, 1988.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '89, 1988.

Country Music Crossroads, 1988.

A Country Music Celebration: The 30th Anniversary of the Country Music Association, 1988.

The 24th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1989.

The 23rd Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1989.

The 25th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1990.

Host, The 24th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1990.

The 1990 Goodwill Games, 1990.

MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon, 1990.

Fairs and Festivals: Fan Fair/Nashville, 1990.

Christmas in Washington, 1990.

Celebrities Offstage, 1990.

Another Evening with the Statler Brothers, 1990.

The 24th Annual Music City News Country Awards, TNN, 1990.

The 18th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1991.

Grand Ole Opry 65th Anniversary (also known as The Grand Ole Opry 65th Anniversary Celebration: The New Tradition), 1991.

Performer, The 63rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1991.

Host, The 25th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1991.

Bob Hope's Cross-Country Christmas, NBC, 1991.

The Judds Farewell Concert (also known as The Judds: Their Final Concert), 1991.

The American Music Awards, ABC, 1991.

The 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1991.

The 26th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1991.

Reba McEntire's Christmas Card, 1991.

In a New Light: A Call to Action in the War Against AIDS (also known as In a New Light), 1992.

Host, The 26th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1992.

To Be Free: The National Literacy Honors, 1992.

The American Music Awards, ABC, 1992.

Presenter, The 27th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1992.

The 19th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, NBC, 1992.

Hats Off to Minnie Pearl: America Honors Minnie Pearl, 1992.

American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special, 1992.

The 26th Annual Music City News Country Awards, TNN, 1992.

Country Music Association's 35th Anniversary, 1993.

The Academy of Country Music's Greatest Hits, 1993.

The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies, 1993.

The Sounds of Summer, 1993.

The Andy Griffith Show Reunion, 1993.

The American Music Awards 20th Anniversary Special, ABC, 1993.

The American Music Awards, ABC, 1993.

The Academy of Country Music's Greatest Hits, 1993.

Host, The 28th Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1993.

The 27th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1993.

Legend to Legend Night, 1993.

Count on Me, 1993.

A Day in the Life of Country Music, 1993.

A Country Music Celebration, 1993.

Presenter, The 50th Annual Golden Globe Awards, TBS, 1993.

Hot Country Jam '94, 1994.

The 28th Annual TNN/Music City News Country Awards, TNN, 1994.

The Roots of Country: Nashville Celebrates the Ryman, 1994.

Performer, The 28th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1994.

The Jackson Family Honors, 1994.

Host, The American Music Awards, ABC, 1994.

Host, The 29th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1994.

TNN Music City News Country Awards, TNN, 1994.

Rhythm, Country & Blues: An "In the Spotlight" Special, 1994.

Reba!, 1994.

Music City News Country Songwriters Awards, TNN, 1994.

Behind Closed Doors with Joan Lunden, 1994.

The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, CBS, 1995.

The 30th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1995.

Reba: Starting Over, 1995.

Performer, The 29th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1995.

Music City News Country Songwriters Awards, TNN, 1995.

Grand Ole Opry 70th Anniversary, 1996.

The 30th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1996.

The 23d Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1996.

TNN Music City News Country Awards, TNN, 1996.

Sea World/Busch Gardens Party for the Planet, 1996.

Grand Ole Opry 70th Anniversary, 1996.

The 31st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1996.

The 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1997.

The 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 1997.

MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon, 1997.

Song performer, Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, UPN, 1997.

A Conversation with Burt Reynolds, 1997.

Roger Miller Remembered, 1998.

Host, Video Playback: TNN's First 15 Years, 1998.

The 33rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 1998.

The 32nd Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1998.

The 25th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1998.

Host, The 24th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1998.

Roger Miller Remembered, 1998.

Intimate Portrait: Reba McEntire, Lifetime, 1998.

Funny Business with Charlie Chase, 1998.

Host, Countryfest '98, 1998.

Country Honors "The Prince of Egypt," 1998.

CMA 40th: A Celebration, 1998.

Barbara Mandrell: Country's Do-Right Woman, 1998.

Barbara Mandrell and the Do-Rites: The Last Dance, 1998.

A Salute to Dustin Hoffman (also known as The 27th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Dustin Hoffman), ABC, 1999.

Asleep at the Wheel: The Making of "Ride with Bob" (also known as The Making of "Ride with Bob"), 1999.

Live by Request: Reba McEntire (also known as Reba McEntire Live by Request), 1999.

The 34th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 1999.

The 33rd Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1999.

Presenter, TNN Music City News Country Awards, TNN, 1999.

Hello Darlin': A Tribute to Conway Twitty, 1999.

Elizabeth Taylor: A Musical Celebration, 2000.

Stars Sing the Beatles, 2000.

Host, Family Television Awards, CBS, 2000.

Wonders of Wildlife Honors: Concert for Conservation, 2000.

The 34th Annual CMA Awards, CBS, 2000.

Host, The 2nd Annual Family Television Awards, CBS, 2000.

Intimate Portrait: Faith Hill, Lifetime, 2000.

Grand Ole Opry 75th—A Celebration, 2000.

5th Annual ALMA Awards, ABC, 2000.

The 35th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2000.

Totally Tube, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

Presenter, The 55th Annual Tony Awards, CBS and PBS, 2001.

Red Steagall Presents Cowboy: The Legend, the Legacy, 2001.

America: A Tribute to Heroes, 2001.

Host, Christmas in Washington, TNT, 2001.

The 35th Annual CMA Awards, CBS, 2001.

Intimate Portrait: Loretta Lynn, Lifetime, 2002.

Intimate Portrait: Martina McBride, Lifetime, 2002.

Presenter, The 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, CBS, 2002.

Presenter, The 29th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2002.

Presenter, The 28th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 2002.

Intimate Portrait: Naomi Judd, Lifetime, 2003.

Dolly Parton: Platinum Blonde, 2003.

TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV (also known as 1st Annual TV Land Awards), TV Land, 2003.

Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2003.

Host, The 38th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2003.

The 30th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2003.

The 26th Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 2003.

CMT Making the Video: Reba McEntire—Somebody, Country Music Television, 2004.

CMT Total Release: Reba McEntire, Country Music Television, 2004.

Host and performer, Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2004.

Host and music performer, The 39th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2004.

Performer, The 32nd Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2004.

Performer, Genius: A Night for Ray Charles, CBS, 2004.

The 8th Annual Prism Awards, FX Channel, 2004.

Performer, The CMT Music Awards, Country Music Television, 2005.

The 7th Annual Family Television Awards, The WB, 2005.

Host, The 40th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2006.

Host, The 41st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2006.

CMT: The Greatest—20 Greatest Country Comedy Shows, Country Music Television, 2006.

CMT: The Greatest—40 Days That Shaped Country Music, Country Music Television, 2006.

Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 2006.

Host and performer, The 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2007.

Performer, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock, ABC, 2007.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Guest performer, The Good Ole Nashville Music, 1970.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1981.

Hee Haw, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991.

Guest host, Good Morning, America, 1989.

Opry Backstage, 1991.

The Statler Bros. Show, 1991.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 1992, 2004.

"Ava Takes a Shower: Parts 1 & 2," Evening Shade, CBS, 1993.

Reba, One Life to Live, ABC, 1994.

The Road, 1994.

Voice of Rachel, "Fortysomething," Frasier, NBC, 1994.

Late Show with David Letterman (also known as The Late Show), CBS, 1995.

The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, CBS, 1996.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996, 1998, 2001.

Herself, "Murder, Country Style," Diagnosis Murder, CBS, 1997.

Herself, The Roseanne Show, 1998.

"Reba McEntire," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

"Loretta Lynn," Inside Fame, 2002.

The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 2002.

Center square, Hollywood Squares (also known as H2 and H2: Hollywood Squares), syndicated, 2002.

"Reba McEntire," Revealed with Jules Asner, E! Entertainment Television, 2002.

"Faith Hill," Revealed with Jules Asner, E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

CMT Got Me in with the Band, Country Music Television, 2004.

Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2004.

"It's a Big Country," 48 Hours (also known as 48 Hours Investigates and 48 Hours Mystery), CBS, 2004.

Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, syndicated, 2005.

"From A to D," Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, 2005.

Showbiz Tonight, CNN, 2005.

Good Morning America, ABC, 2005.

The View, ABC, 2005.

Larry King Live, CNN, 2005.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS, 2006.

The Early Show, CBS, 2006.

Access Hollywood, syndicated, 2006.

Entertainment Tonight (also known as E.T.), syndicated, 2006.

"Dolly Parton," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2006.

"Hairdos and Heartache: The Women of Country Music," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2006.

"Mavericks: Honky Tonk Angels," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2006.

In the Mix (also known as In the Cutz), Urban America, 2006.

The Megan Mullally Show, syndicated, 2006.

Performer and honoree, "Reba," CMT Giants, Country Music Television, 2006.

CMT Insider, Country Music Television, 2006.

Nellie Forbush, "‘South Pacific’ in Concert from Carnegie Hall," Great Performances, PBS, 2006.

"Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire," CMT Crossroads, Country Music Television, 2007.

Television Work; Series:

Co-executive producer, Reba, 2002-2006.

Executive producer, Reba, 2005-2007.

Television Executive Producer; Movies:

Is There Life Out There?, CBS, 1994.

Forever Love, CBS, 1998.

Secret of Giving, CBS, 1999.

Film Appearances:

Heather Gummer, Tremors, Universal, 1990.

A. J. Ferguson, The Little Rascals, 1994.

Ma Tex, North, Columbia, 1994.

(Uncredited) Spectator, Maverick, Warner Bros., 1994.

Carl's psychiatrist, One Night at McCool's, USA Films, 2001.

Voice of Dixie, The Fox and the Hound 2 (animated), Buena Vista, 2006.

Voice of Betsy the cow, Charlotte's Web (animated), Paramount, 2006.

Herself, "Charlotte's Web": Some Voices (documentary), 2007.

Stage Appearances:

Annie Oakley, Annie Get Your Gun, Marquis Theatre, New York City, 2001.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

Reba McEntire, Mercury, 1977.

Out of a Dream, Mercury, 1979.

Feel the Fire, Mercury, 1980.

Heart to Heart, Mercury, 1981.

Unlimited, Mercury, 1982.

Behind the Scenes, Mercury, 1983.

Just a Little Love, Mercury, 1984.

My Kind of Country, MCA Records, 1984.

Have I Got a Deal for You, MCA Records, 1985.

Whoever's in New England, MCA Records, 1986.

What Am I Gonna Do about You, MCA Records, 1986.

Reba McEntire's Greatest Hits, MCA Records, 1987.

The Best of Reba McEntire: 1980-1983, Mercury/Polygram, 1987.

The Last One to Know, MCA Records, 1987.

Merry Christmas to You, MCA Records, 1987.

Reba, MCA Records, 1988.

Sweet Sixteen, MCA Records, 1989.

Reba Live!, MCA Records, 1989.

Rumor Has It, MCA Records, 1990.

For My Broken Heart, MCA Records, 1991.

It's Your Call, MCA Records, 1992.

Forever in Your Eyes, MCA Records, 1992.

Reba McEntire's Greatest Hits, Volume 2, MCA Records, 1993.

Read My Mind, 1994.

Starting Over, 1995.

What If It's You, 1996.

If You See Him, 1998.

Moments and Memories, 1998.

Secret of Giving: A Christmas Collection, 1999.

So Good Together, 1999.

I'll Be, MCA, 2001.

Room to Breathe, MCA, 2003.

Singles:

"Three Sheets in the Wind"/"I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," 1978.

"Sweet Dreams," Mercury, 1979.

"(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven," Mercury, 1980.

"You're the First Time I Thought about Leaving," Mercury, 1983.

"What If," 1997.

Also released "Today All Over Again."

Videos (as performer):

Reba, 1989.

Reba in Concert, 1991.

Wrestlemania VIII, 1992.

Reba: For My Broken Heart, 1992.

Reba McEntire Greatest Hits, 1993.

Reba: Starting Over, 1995.

Reba: Celebrating Twenty Years, 1995.

Reba Live!, 1995.

I'll Be, c. 2000.

Reba: Video Gold II, MCA Nashville, 2006.

Also appeared in music videos for "Is There Life Out There?," "What Do You Say?," and "Whoever's in New England."

Videos (as producer):

Reba: For My Broken Heart, 1992.

WRITINGS

Books:

(With Tom Carter) Reba: My Story (autobiography), Bantam (New York City), 1994.

Comfort from a Country Quilt: Finding New Inspiration and Strength from Old-Fashioned Values, Bantam, 1999.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 38, Gale Group, 2003.

Newsmakers, Issue 4, Gale Research, 1994.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.

Periodicals:

Country Weekly, June 16, 1998; September 29, 1998.

New Country, January 6, 1997.

Woman's World, April 9, 1996; January 26, 1999.

Electronic:

Reba McEntire Website,http://www.reba.com, January 5, 2008.

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McEntire, Reba

REBA McENTIRE

Born: Chockie, Oklahoma, 28 March 1955

Genre: Country

Best-selling album since 1990: Read My Mind (1994)

Hit songs since 1990: "Is There Life Out There," "She Thinks His Name Was John," "How Was I to Know"

Applying her distinctive, tremulous vocals to a long run of Top 10 hits, Reba McEntire became the most successful female country performer of the 1980s and 1990s. While other singers of the 1980s faded into obscurity during the following decade, McEntire remained on top through consistently fine song selection and a warm, down-to-earth public persona. In keeping with this image McEntire imbued her songs with a refreshingly female perspective, choosing material that explored the many aspects of contemporary women's lives. Her voice, a wide-ranging instrument recalling the sound of country legend Patsy Cline, was the perfect vehicle for her songs of loss, faith, and determination. By the beginning of the millennium she had proven her resiliency, overcoming personal tragedy and finding success on the Broadway stage and television.


Early Life and Rise to Stardom

Raised on an Oklahoma cattle ranch, McEntire spent her childhood performing in rodeos with her father, professional steer rider Clark McEntire, while gaining music instruction from her mother Jackie. With her sisters she formed the group the Singing McEntires, recording a song, "The Ballad of John McEntire," that received local radio play in Oklahoma. After performing the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City in 1974, McEntire was approached by country singer and songwriter Red Steagall, who suggested she record as a solo artist. With the blessings of her family she broke away from the Singing McEntires and, through Steagall's connections, signed a recording contract with Mercury Records in 1975. During this time she married steer wrestler Charlie Battles and completed her teaching diploma at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Although McEntire achieved a degree of commercial success on Mercury, her sound did not fully coalesce until moving to MCA Records in 1984. On MCA she achieved stardom through infusing her recordings with more of her tough but tender personality. Proving herself a skilled dramatic interpreter, McEntire shone on songs that cast her in a wide range of roles, from bored society wife in "Little Rock" to the neglected spouse of "Whoever's in New England" (both 1986). On the latter she establishes a new female country image for the late 1980s; neither aggressive nor overly submissive, McEntire sounds confident that her husband will come back: "When whoever's in New England's through with you / And Boston finds better things to do . . . you'll always have a place to come back to." Unfamiliar with life "up north," McEntire's character is distinctly southern, unworldly but far from naïve. Like the characters on the popular late 1980s television program Designing Women, McEntire epitomizes the traditional but contemporary woman of the "New South," secure in her values while approaching modern pressures with open-mindedness. In keeping with this duality, McEntire retained the country twang in her voice even as her records sounded increasingly slick and polished as the 1980s drew to a close.


The 1990s: Tragedy and Triumph

In 1990 seven members of McEntire's nine-piece band were killed in a plane crash. Devastated, McEntire released For My Broken Heart (1991) as a means of coming to terms with the loss. Although the songs avoid addressing the tragedy specifically, all feature characters looking back on their lives with autumnal regret. On "All Dressed up (with Nowhere to Go)," an old woman in a nursing home, forgotten by her family, waits in her Sunday finery for the ride to church that will never come. While the scene's grim irony approaches the southern gothic style of writer Flannery O'Connor, McEntire's straightforwardness grounds it in everyday experience. As such, the song is as much a statement about respect for the elderly as an exploration of loss and mortality. Even at her most adventurous McEntire remains populist, maintaining a directness that assures her ongoing appeal to country audiences. Still, her art is sometimes less simple than it appears. On "I Wouldn't Go That Far," another of For My Broken Heart 's highlights, she describes a late-night car ride taken in her youth: "He drove me down that old dusty road . . . he wanted me and I wanted him." At first, McEntire's character seems to be saying no to sex; only later is it apparent that she "wouldn't go that far" in love: "I didn't follow my heart." By the end, she sings with the sadness and resignation of one who has lost the great love of her life. A fine storyteller, McEntire makes listeners feel they are in private conversation with her, the soulful tug in her voice contributing to her authenticity.

In 1994 McEntire released one of her most courageous songs, "She Thinks His Name Was John," the only country hit to address the topic of AIDS. Serious without being heavy-handed, the song is all the more impressive for its lack of moralizing. "I'm not a person who judges," she told the AIDS magazine A&U in 2001. Like all of McEntire's best work, "She Thinks His Name Was John," gives voice to the multiple challenges women face in a changing world. During the remainder of the 1990s McEntire continued to release albums that displayed confidence and vocal growth. While her work during this period sometimes erred on the side of blandness, it never sounded less than pleasant. On So Good Together (1999), her voice is supple and strong, richer and less wobbly than on earlier releases. Her lower register in particular sounds full and rounded, while her tough vocal growl remains intact. On songs such as "'Til I Said It to You," she employs a skilled sense of timing, fitting long strings of words into the rhythm without sounding rushed or strained. The same rhythmic assurance informs the bass-driven title track, which reflects McEntire's interest in other musical styles, namely rhythm and blues.

New Directions

While McEntire cut back on her recording activities after the late 1990s, she found success in the New York theater, replacing Broadway star Bernadette Peters in a revival of the classic musical Annie Get Your Gun in 2001. McEntire won raves from the tough New York critics for her spirited, high-strung performance. Crediting her with rescuing an otherwise labored production, the New York Times asserted, "She makes a highly polished performance look so easy you wonder why we aren't all Broadway stars." In the fall of 2001 she premiered her own sitcom, Reba, which, in keeping with McEntire's trademark realism, dealt with a mature subject: single motherhood and teen pregnancy. During this period McEntire also published two autobiographical books and continued her activities as a successful businesswoman, running Starstruck Enterprises, a combination booking, publishing, promotions, and private jet company, with second husband Narvel Black-stock. Despite her success McEntire remained chipper, funny, and engaging during interviews, seeming more like a friendly next-door neighbor than a multimillionaire performer. As if in recognition of this accessibility, McEntire attested on "I'm a Survivor" (2001) that, "I may be the queen of broken hearts / But I don't hide behind the crown"lyrics that hold true for her entire career.

McEntire's down-home honesty and pop sophistication paved the way for successful 1990s country singers such as Shania Twain and Faith Hill. Unlike these performers, McEntire maintains close ties with her country roots, her voice never losing its twangy cadences. Ignoring trends in country music that call for hard-rock pyrotechnics, McEntire relies on subtle communication and storytelling for the effectiveness of her work, creating music that speaks to a female audience while remaining universally likable. Through her presence in other areas of the media, including television and theater, McEntire has succeeded in bringing country further into the cultural mainstream.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Reba McEntire (Mercury, 1977); Just a Little Love (MCA, 1984); Whoever's in New England (MCA, 1986); For My Broken Heart (MCA, 1991); Read My Mind (MCA, 1994); So Good Together (MCA, 1999).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

R. McEntire, Reba: My Story (New York, 1994); R. McEntire, Comfort from a Country Quilt (New York, 1999).

david freeland

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"McEntire, Reba." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"McEntire, Reba." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mcentire-reba

"McEntire, Reba." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mcentire-reba