Today Jeannie Seely chuckles when she recalls her decision to move to Nashville in the fall of 1965. “It’s true,” she says, “that I only had $50 and a Ford Falcon to my name”.
Actually, the blonde, blue-eyed singer brought a lot more than that to Music City. She had natural talent, striking intelligence, and a strong determination to turn her dreams into reality.
Less than a month after moving, Jeannie was hired by Porter Wagoner as the female singer for his road show and television series. 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.
Within a year Jeannie was singing on the world famous Grand Ole Opry stage, where she still performs on a regular basis.
To this day, the former bank secretary remains the only Pennsylvania native to be invited to join the Opry cast. Born in Titusville and raised on a farm near Townville, Jeannie was tuning the family’s radio to WSM 650 from the time she was tall enough to reach the dial.
Among many achievements, Jeannie 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.
With fellow Opry member Jack Greene, Jeannie scored another No. 1 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.
In 1972, Faron Young took Jeannie’s “Leavin’ And Sayin’ Goodbye” to the No. 1 spot, earning her a BMI Songwriter’s Award. Among other artists who have recorded Jeannie’s compositions are Norma Jean, Dottie West, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Willie Nelson and Lorrie Morgan.
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, “Pieces Of A Puzzled Mind”.
Her deeply moving vocals solidified her reputation as a country torch singer and earned her the nickname of “Miss Country Soul”, a title still frequently used today.
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 Opry stage.
She has created an acting career for herself appearing in music videos, plays and movies, including “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, “Everybody Loves Opal”, Honeysuckle Rose”, “Changing Hearts”, “Colored Eggs” and “Could It Be Love”.
Her 2003 CD, “Life’s Highway”, reviewed by Country Weekly, “is one of the year’s most welcome surprises – 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”. Country recordings by Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely now span six decades with the release of her latest CD titled “Vintage Country: Old But Treasured” featuring timeless classic hits that Jeannie makes her own.
The multi-talented and versatile entertainer is celebrating 47 years as a Grand Ole Opry member and is still creating a stir every time she walks on stage!