These women were the definition of grace, style and beauty.
Before there was Kacey Musgraves, there was Emmylou Harris. Even before there was Shania Twain, there was Tanya Tucker. Country music has been graced by some truly beautiful women over its storied history.
Here are eleven women that embodied classic country style and beauty–whether with sultry eyes and bed-tousled hair, leather fringe or a coy smile. All of these artists were active or had the majority of their hits before 1980.
Loretta Lynn might be a coal miner’s daughter, but that hasn’t keep her from being one of country’s classiest ladies for over fifty years. She has a quiet sophistication that gives her a classic beauty.
With her signature floor-length hair, Crystal Gayle was voted one the most beautiful people in the world in 1983 by People. But she began her career in 1970 when her debut single, “I’ve Cried (The Blue Right Out of My Eyes)” reached number 23. That song, by the way: written by her sister Loretta Lynn. And now you know. She’s also related to Patty Loveless. Guess it runs in the family.
Remember Patti Page? You know, the voice behind “Tennessee Waltz” and “(How Much is that) Doggie in the Window”? No? No worries, Patti Page doesn’t get a lot of airtime these days. But with her beauty and style, Patti Page is one of country music’s classic beauties.
There is apparently nothing that Linda Ronstadt has not done. She found time to win 11 Grammys, top country, rock, and pop charts, sing in two languages, win a Tony for her acting… Her sultry looks probably didn’t hurt her appeal when she was a younger artist either. This photo of Linda from 1981 makes her look like she could fit right in today.
Like Linda Ronstadt, Ann-Margret seemed to have the entire world at her fingertips. Her singing career began in the early 60s when she recorded an album with Chet Atkins on guitar. She was touted as the female Elvis Presley (to whom she was romantically attached as well). However you cut it, Ann-Margret was one of country music’s most beautiful acts.
Sometimes you just can’t argue with a powerful blonde bombshell with eyes like those.
Tanya Tucker caused quite a stir when she burst onto the country music scene in the early 70s as a child star. Well, she grew up. Even Glen Campbell took notice, dating the 21-year-old singer when he was more than twice her age. Tanya Tucker is, without doubt, one of the classic beauties of country music.
What can we say about Dolly that you don’t already know? Before her other assets became almost a parody of themselves, Dolly was one good-looking lady. She easily cracks this list.
Judy Collins was one of the most successful and influential folk singers of the 20th century. And her piercing blue eyes go down in history as some of the most heart-stopping. So much so that they inspired the Crosby, Still and Nash song “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
As a member of the Mamas & the Papas, Michelle Phillips was instrumental in infusing folk with rock and opening the genre to a wider audience. She was also known for her Helen-of-Troy good looks and attitude.
Miss Emmylou redefined cool in the 70s and classy in the 2010s. She was and remains a queen of classic country beauty.