Nashville Music Guide Salutes Top 20 Legendary Women of Country Music

Recently the 53rd Annual CMA Awards recognized legendary women of country music. The event was spectacular and the audience was filled to capacity with the royalty of the country music industry.

Nashville Music Guide would like to pay our own homage to the legendary ladies of country music here in our pages by recognizing our top 20 female country artists.

The hosts of this years CMA Awards are the first three. Together these three outstanding artists have gathered over 124 CMA Awards nominations, and have a total of 22 wins. Of the 22 wins, 11 of those are for Female Vocalist of the Year. The three superstars also have a combined 14 nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Dolly Parton earning the award in 1978 and Reba McEntire winning in 1986.

Our top 20 pick includes the following:

Tanya Tucker who at the young age of 13 recorded her first hit record, “Delta Dawn” and for the succeeding decades has carved winning streaks of top 10’s, top 40’s, has been Top New Female Vocalist, Female Vocalist, and from CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music placed in the top 20. She recently scores a big hit with her 10th top ten country album, “While I’m Livin.”

The iconic Tammy Wynette, also known as the First Lady of Country Music. She charted 20 number one songs and along with Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton was known to have defined the role of women in the country music industry during the 70’s.

The beautiful Lorrie Morgan, born into the music industry she has been performing since the age of 13 charted her first single in 1979. Her first two RCA albums “Leave The Light On” and “Something In Red” and her BNA album “Watch Me” were certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. She toured the world and still performs around the world. Her newest endeavor “Lorrie Morgans Spicy Hot Chicken Coop in Panama City is a huge success.

Jeannie Sealy has always played a huge part in the country music industry and to this day her songs are still performed by those who love the classic country music sound.

My all-time favorite, the late and great Patsy Cline whose songs, “Crazy”, Walking After Midnight”, and “Sweet Dreams” have been covered by many country and some cross over artists and still today some of the most requested songs on national radio.

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The Queen of Country Music Loretta Lynn, born in Butcher Holler Kentucky has multiple gold albums spanning a career of almost 60 years. She is the most awarded female country artist and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade for 1970’s. Her albums have sold over 45 million copies worldwide.

Jean Shepard and her 1953 duet with Ferlin Husky, “A Dear John Letter” place her as one of the top leading female country artists of the 1950’s. The song was a #1 hit and a major crossover pop song that placed at #4 on Billboard pop charts. She celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

The amazing Lynn Anderson and her #1 smile is one of our favorites for the top 20. She was one of the first female country artists to gain recognition as a cross over artist. She was recognized with CMA, ACM, AMA, and Grammy awards as well as Billboards Artist of the Decade from the 70 to 80’s.

Deborah Allen one of the 80’s most notable female country artists made headlines with her hit “Baby I Lied” and to this day is still one of the brightest female artists in the industry.

Emmylou Harris from Birmingham Alabama earned fame with her songs, “If If Only I Could Win Your Love” and “Blue Kentucky Girl.” She released dozens of albums and singles winning 14 Grammys, honors of induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2018 presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dottie West was also considered to one of the country music’s most influential and groundbreaking artists and in 1965 was the first female country artist to receive a Grammy. She earned superstardom from her performances with Kenny Rogers.

Faith Hill embarked on her first international success with “This Kiss” and hasn’t slowed down one second since then, in 1998. Her award-winning vocals and best selling songs like “Breathe” and The Way You Love Me” have helped to earn her 3 Grammy Awards. Of course, she has earned many more since then and still is one of the country music industries most notable female artists.

The Judds are one of the most notable female duo’s included in our list. Both country music and cross over artists, they released six studio albums 1983 and 1991 and were one of the most successful acts in country history. They won 5 Grammy Awards and 8 Country Music Association Awards.

Martina McBride with her spunk and hits that pushed every woman to stand up and be strong in the face of adversity is another of our top 20 picks. Known for her outstanding soprano singing range she at one time was called the “Celine Dion” of Country Music. She has 14 albums to her credit and has received numerous awards including CMA Female Vocalist of the Year with the fourth win in 2004 and has been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards.

Miranda Lambert is one of today’s most popular and sought after female country artists. Women of today relate to her and her music and connect of a huge level with the lyrics and stories she relates through her songs. Her debut album “Kerosene” in 2005 was certified Platinum and produced four songs that reached the top 40 on Billboard Hot Country Songs. Her accolades include Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year, Video of the Year, Single of the Year, Milestone Achievement Award, all at various stages throughout her career beginning in 2007 to 2019.

Kacey Musgraves is the newest and fastest up and coming new female artist in the country music industry. Her songs are bringing in fans of all ages. She has won 6 Grammy Awards including the 2019 Album of The Year Award. She is said to have credited Alison Krauss and one of her career role models and Lee Ann Womack and one of her childhood influences. In 2017 she won Female Vocalist of the Year, International Achievement Award and Album of the Year.

The last 50+ years has given us some of the most iconic and memorable songs in the history of country music and the caliber or grace and poise shared by the female artists throughout this history of the country music genre gives testament to the love of the industry and keeping it alive.

It is truly an honor to recognize these 20 female artists for their dedication, contributions, and commitment to the country music industry.

About Sherryl Craig 370 Articles
Sherryl is a Senior Writer and Assistant Editor with Nashville Music Guide and her blog, Lyrics N Legends has been featured since 2012. Her articles has graced the cover and have appeared as feature stories in the NMG print edition. She is also a member of WMMW, Women of Music Music of Women, a non-profit organization in support of women in the music industry. WMMW also appears here in Nashville Music Guide.