Carrie Underwood Hosts Tribute to Barbara Mandrell

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To have two country singer giants: Carrie Underwood and Barbara Mandrell, come together in one place is truly something special. But really, on July 30th, the stage was all for Barbara Mandrell, as Carrie Underwood hosted a tribute for Mandrell’s 50th anniversary of being a Grand Ole Opry member.

Carrie Underwood

 

The Country Legend

Starting off as a cover singer, Barbara Mandrell first made a name for herself in the country scene by infusing a country feel while covering soul artists Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. Her early talent and success landed her in Columbia Records, topping country Billboard charts. In 1972, she also earned membership into the Grand Ole Opry, the hub for country music artists that have been in existence since 1925.

 

Soon after her early successes, Mandrell started fusing country with pop. It was here that her career took off, reaching #1 on the Billboards with her single “Sleeping Single on a Double Bed.” Additionally, she consistently put on extravagant performances. Mandrell was an amazing entertainer and showmaster, putting on concerts with dance choreography and multi-instrument performances.

 

Mandrell primarily sang romance songs, although, during her heyday, she would sing songs regarding infidelity. Her songs have a noticeably fast pace to them, indicative of the pop feel she added to her country music.

 

By the end of her reign, Mandrell had dozens of top-selling singles that consistently topped country charts. She accumulated numerous awards, including the “Female Vocalist of the Year” from the Country Music Association in 1979 as well as a spot in the Country Hall of Fame. She is regarded as one of the biggest female country artist of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

 

The Entertainer

Mandrell, at her core, is an entertainer. Besides a singer, Mandrell had a lucrative career as an actress. She starred in many shows, including her own “Barbara Mandrell & the Mandrell Sisters,” which was a complete success and got Mandrell nominated for “Best Actress in a Television Musical.”

 

Carrie Underwood’s Tribute

Carrie Underwood is one of the largest female country artists of all time and is the most awarded country artist ever. Yet Underwood had inspirations, and Mandrell was one of them. As Underwood paid tribute to Mandrell on the 50th Anniversary of being a member of the Grand Ole Opry, she credits Mandrell as being one of her inspirations. “She has been such an inspiration to me and so many others that stand on the shoulders of great female artists like her,” Underwood said on stage. “It’s especially fitting to pay tribute to her tonight in this sacred place we both hold so dear.”

 

The show comprised Underwood and the other all-female artist lineup, including Linda Davis, CeCe Winans, and Suzy Bogguss. The artists performed many of Mandrell’s songs. In particular, Underwood performed a chilling performance of Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”

 

At the end of the performances, the legend herself made a speech thanking the artists and the Opry.

“There are so many great, great huge talented women that performed for us tonight… They know I love them. And the Opry…Lord knows I love the Opry.” Mandrell said.

 

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