Most tellings of The Judds story cover how appearances on Ralph Emery's early morning TV show in Nashville positioned the mother-daughter duo of Naomi and Wynonna Judd to be discovered in 1983 by RCA Records.
For a pre-fame look at a group that helped define country music in the '80s, check out this cover of Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" from The Ralph Emery Show.
The song suited the duo, both as a harmony showpiece and as an autobiographical statement. Mother Naomi Judd and half-sisters Wynonna and Ashley Judd lived out their own rags to riches story in Kentucky, as Wynonna reminds us with her pre-song banter about Papa Judd getting emotional over his own childhood experience of wearing hand-me-downs.
The Judds (or as Emery called them early on, The Soap Sisters) first appeared on the 6 a.m. live show in 1980, with several appearances coming just two hours before Wynonna's high school classes began in Franklin, Tennessee.
The Ralph Emery Show, which dated back to 1972, also brought early career exposure to Lorrie Morgan.
During their original mainstream run (1983-1991), The Judds scored 14 No. 1 country hits, starting with 1984's "Mama He's Crazy," and earned five Grammy awards. Wynonna went on to become a successful solo country artist and would reunite with her mother several times over the years, including a performance of "Love Can Build a Bridge" during the 1994 Super Bowl's halftime show and a Las Vegas residency in 2015.
Emery also reached new heights in 1983. That's when he began a 10-year run as the host of TNN's Nashville Now.
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