Who would’ve thought that a red-headed Oklahoma ranch girl would grow up to be one of the most successful country artists of all time? Nothing in her life would have suggested that she would be the future “queen of country” and yet, Reba McEntire most certainly is. And she has done it without breaking her principles and without altering her clear, consistent, country sound. So just how successful is Reba McEntire and what propelled her to the top?
A Brief Look Back
For fans that aren’t aware, Reba McEntire wasn’t one of those artists who went to Nashville looking for a record deal. Nashville came to her. She was “discovered” by Red Steagall in 1974. McEntire performed the National Anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma that year. And hearing her sing, he knew he had found a rare talent.
It would be a lovely story to say that she went to Nashville, got a record deal, and the rest is history. But that actually wasn’t the case at all. McEntire had a bit of a struggle to the top. She released an incredible 13 records before having one hit the top. Her 14th single, “I Can’t Even Get The Blues” finally went to No. 1. But even getting that song was a struggle. Mercury Records did not intend on giving her that song, and she had to fight them for it. Obviously, she eventually won, but it was not an easy battle.
Once she hit her first No. 1, her career took off. Her very next single, “You’re the First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving,” also went to No. 1. From there, she had a string of hits, with a current total of 35 No. 1 country singles. That is a huge number.
In fact, Reba holds some serious distinction among other country artists.