NASHVILLE, Tenn. The spotlight exhibit devoted to country star Tanya Tucker will end its run at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on May 10, 2015. Tanya Tucker: Strong Enough to Bend tells Tucker’s story through a collection of artifacts that illustrate her tough and tender duality and ahead-of-her-time tenure as a female country crossover star.
Gorgeous stage costumes, including Nudie’s Rodeo Tailor designs from very early in her career and gowns worn at award shows, contrast with Tucker’s numerous National Cutting Horse Association awards and a Harley-Davidson 1992 Screamin’ Eagle—customized in her special hue of pink paint. A copy of the September 26, 1974, Rolling Stone magazine, featuring Tucker as the first female country artist to appear on the cover, underscores her impact, as do Tucker’s outfit from the 1994 Super Bowl halftime show and a script from her 1981 appearance on an episode of the popular TV series The Love Boat.
Tucker’s talent blossomed early. She began performing at age six, and soon became a regular on a Phoenix TV program. A Las Vegas agent sent a demo recording to Billy Sherrill, who quickly signed Tucker to Columbia Records. She was thirteen years old.
At the time, few child performers had achieved success in country music. But the singer’s husky voice and audacious confidence made her seem more grown-up. She proved as much when she walked into a Nashville studio, in March 1972, and announced to Sherrill and the veteran musicians, “Well, I know my part, boys. Do you know yours?” She proceeded to belt out “Delta Dawn” like a seasoned pro, and by summer the song was a hit.
Two years into her singing career, Tucker appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine—a rare national media spotlight for a country star in 1974. On October 10 of that year Tucker signed a $1.4 million contract with MCA Records. Her seven years there yielded the #1 hits “Lizzie and the Rainman.” “San Antonio Stroll,” and “Here’s Some Love.” In 1978, she recorded the rock-influenced album T.N.T. in Los Angeles.
Tucker’s 1986 album, Girl Like Me, featured four Top Ten hits, including the #1 “Just Another Love.” She enjoyed a long run of success on Capitol (and sister label Liberty), with a string of Top Ten hits through 1997, including three consecutive #1s, “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love,” “If It Don’t Come Easy,” and “Strong Enough to Bend.”
Though she has been away from the stage for a while, Tucker is back in the spotlight and on the road this summer and fall. For a complete list of upcoming tour dates, click here.
To learn more about Tucker and the spotlight exhibit, visit countrymusichalloffame.org. Join the conversation using #TanyaTuckerExhibit and follow @countrymusichof on Twitter.