The country hits of the late Dottie West spanned multiple decades and include numerous fantastic examples of her as male stars' duet partner and as a chart-topping solo act.
Born Dorothy Marie Marsh in McMinnville, Tennessee, the future Dottie West made it to Nashville in the early '60s. Fresh off a television gig in Cleveland, Ohio and some recordings for Starday Records, her earliest success in town came as a songwriting partner with then-husband Bill West. Together, they struggled alongside Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and other young songwriters hoping to hit the big time.
West's biggest break came through her friendship to fellow country singer Patsy Cline. Although Jim Reeves first lured West to Nashville, it's Cline who taught her how to put herself out there as a bold and talented woman who would ultimately become a Grand Ole Opry member and perennial hit-maker. Reeves also helped West secure a record deal with RCA Victor where she got to work with producer Chet Atkins.
Those before-mentioned duets followed, with Reeves, Don Gibson and John Schneider among the various men elevated over the years by the chance to sing with such a dynamic vocal partner. And let's not forget about "What Are We Doin' In Love," "Til I Can Make It On My Own," "Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight," "Are You Happy Baby" and "All I Ever Need Is You" with Kenny Rogers.
Solo success came by the mid-'60s, with West becoming the first woman in country music history to win a Grammy. From there, her versatility as a vocalist allowed West to stay relevant. From the 1970s to her 1991 passing, West went on to write a famous Coca-Cola jingle, ride Rogers' wave of success, watch daughter Shelly West become a great duet singer in her own right and continue being a role model and fashion inspiration for female country artists.
Check out these 10 songs from throughout West's career, and you'll surely agree that her spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame is well deserved.
10. "Childhood Places"
This song celebrates those sweet memories of Mama and Daddy. Such topics often blended well with the Nashville Sound's orchestral pop arrangements.
9. "A Lesson in Leavin'"
As the '80s rolled around and country got more pop, West didn't just join the fray. She recorded one of the decade's most-loved and best aged number one hits, inspiring a successful cover by Jo Dee Messina.
8. "Before the Ring On Your Finger Turns Green"
West offers up some relationship advice in this cleverly-worded warning about scoundrels and playboys. It's a classic cut off aptly-titled album Suffer Time, which also includes the popular "Would You Hold It Against Me."
7. "Paper Mansions"
With this unofficial companion piece to the romantic "House of Love," West sees through the thin promises of a wealthy yet shallow suitor.
6. "Last Time I Saw Him"
This deeper cut blends the pop-accessible Nashville Sound with bluegrass strings and a slight wild West feel. It reveals the roots of an artist with a really awesome version of "Rocky Top" in her repertoire.
5. "Country Girl"
Accompanied by some sweet '60s pop instrumentation, West offers up a companion piece to all of those songs about good ole country boys.
4. "Everytime Two Fools Collide" (with Kenny Rogers)
Rogers helped bring West back to the spotlight in the late '70s with this and other memorable duets. Likewise, West's talents as a song interpreter upped an unmatched ballad singer's game.
3."Sweet Thang" (with Jimmy Dean)
A less likely pick than other duets from the same time period, West's parts in this song display the same sass and defiance associated with peers Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette.
2. "Country Sunshine"
Talk about cross-over success. This memorable hit reached a global audience via a Coca-Cola ad campaign.
1. "Here Comes My Baby Back Again"
West sounds a little like her dear friend Patsy on this history-making single. It's the song that won West the Grammy that makes her the answer to a country music trivia question. Specifically, she was the first woman country artist to ever win a Grammy Award.
Honorable mention picks: "Like a Fool," "Love is No Excuse," "It's High Time," "Rings of Gold" (with Don Gibson), "What's Come Over My Baby," "Together Again" (with Kenny Rogers) and "When It's Just You and Me"
This story previously ran on Oct. 10, 2019.