Tucker was born
Her father, Beau, a construction worker, and her mother, Juanita, encouraged
her fledgling musical talents. Her early years were spent in Wilcox, Ariz.,
before moving to Phoenix in 1967. Her
booked her to perform with visiting country stars on stage at local fairs.
Never one to consider that some songs might be too old for her, she was
singing Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough" before she was 13. The
family moved to St. George, Utah, and her mother impressed the producer of
the Robert Redford movie Jeremiah Johnson, which led to Tucker (and
her horse) being featured.
further their daughter's career, they moved to
Vegas, where Beau financed a demo tape. In 1972, producer Billy Sherrill
signed Tucker to Columbia Records in
although she disliked his choice of song -- "The Happiest Girl in the Whole
U.S.A.," later a hit for Donna Fargo. Subsequently, she first reached the
Top 10 with "Delta Dawn," followed by the double-sided "Jamestown
Ferry"/"Love's the Answer" and the No. 1 hit, "What's Your Mama's Name?"
Though it referred to a
sunset, "Blood Red and Goin' Down" was about a daughter watching her father
kill her cheating mother, while "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of
Stone)" was an adult love song, written by David Allen Coe for his brother's
Tucker quickly became a country star, was featured on the cover of
Rolling Stone and through 200 appearances a year, developed a powerful,
if precocious, stage presence. Moving to MCA on her 16th birthday, she was
determined to make records that were in keeping with the sophisticated
country rock of the Eagles, and she topped the country charts with "Lizzie
and the Rainman," "San Antonio Stroll" and "Here's Some Love." In 1978, she
wrote and recorded "Save Me," an ecologically inspired single about seal
provocative cover picture of 1978's TNT album caused controversy
because it certainly represented a different approach for a country star.
She was booed on the Grand Ole Opry for performing raucous rock 'n' roll.
Tear Me Apart was made with the producer-of-the-moment, Mike Chapman,
and included a hoarse segue of "San
Francisco" with "I Left My Heart In San Francisco." Neither album sold as
well as expected, but Tucker found herself in gossip columns as a result of
her stormy relationship with Glen Campbell. She commented: "Men are supposed
to slow down after 40, but it's the opposite with Glen." Their duets
included a low-charting revival of Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover," but the
dream was over amidst allegations of physical abuse.
would have it, Tucker and Campbell were to find themselves on the same
label, Capitol Records, and Tucker's career was revitalized with 1986's
Girls Like Me, an album that spawned four Top 10 country singles. In
1988, she had three No. 1 country singles: "I Won't Take Less Than Your
Love" (with Paul Davis and Paul Overstreet), "If It Don't Come Easy" and
"Strong Enough to
was also the year in which she entered the Betty Ford clinic for cocaine and
many years in country music, her contributions were finally rewarded when
the Country Music Association voted her the female vocalist in 1991, though
she missed the event, having just given birth to her second child. Eight
consecutive singles reached the Top 10 in the early 1990s, including "Down
to My Last Teardrop," "(Without You) What Do I Do With Me" and "Two Sparrows
in a Hurricane." She published the autobiography Nickel Dreams in
1996 and released the album Complicated in 1997. After parting with
Capitol Records, she issued the album Tanya on her own label in 2002.