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Dottie West (October 11, 1932 – September 4, 1991)

Born Dorothy Marie Marsh, in McMinnville, Tennessee, Dottie was one of ten children. She spent her early years doing chores on her family’s farm. For most of her career, she was true to her country routes by wearing simple dresses and sang with sincere vocals. She began performing on the radio as a teenager and studied music at the Tennessee Technological University where she met her future husband Bill West. They married in 1953.

The couple landed a recording deal in 1959 on Starday Records. In 1961 they moved to Nashville. In 1963, Dottie had her first top 40 hit, Let Me Off at the Corner. In 1964, her hit Here Comes My Baby won the 1964 Grammy Award for Best Female Country & Western Vocal Performance. (She was the first woman to win the award.) She soon became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. During the 1960s, Dottie released 15 albums.

The 1970s brought many changes for Dottie. She divorced West and married her drummer Byron Metcalf. She also introduced a new image — she began wearing tight dresses and more makeup. Late in the decade, she did a series of successful duets with Kenny Rogers. They won the Best Duo of the Year from the CMA in 1978 and 1979. In 1981 she divorced Metcalf. Two years later she married Al Winters and had two minor hits on the charts. Dottie continued to perform and still drew crowds. Unfortunately in 1990, she divorced Winters and filed for bankruptcy. The IRS was forced to seize her property and possessions.

In early September 1991, Dottie was late to a performance after having car trouble. She accepted a ride from a neighbor. On the way to the show, her neighbor lost control of the car, flipping it. On September 4, Dottie succumbed to her injuries from the accident. Dottie was 58.