Sunday, September 19, 2010

Top Ten Greatest Women of the Nineties, #9 - Lorrie Morgan

Lorrie Morgan is one artist who can say that, in the truest sense, country music is in her blood.  She is the daughter of a late Grand Ole Opry legend - "Candy Kisses" singer George Morgan.  For Lorrie, a night at the Opry was a common childhood experience.  At the tender age of 13, she took the stage at the Opry for the very first time, performing the Marie Osmond classic "Paper Roses," and receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.  On June 9, 1984, Lorrie was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  At not yet 25 years old, she was the youngest singer ever to receive that honor.  As Lorrie's career gained momentum, she proved that such an honor was justly deserved.

Lorrie made her breakthrough to the country music mainstream as a member of the famed Class of '89 (along with Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, and Mary Chapin Carpenter).  Her top ten debut album Leave the Light On yielded several substantial hit singles.  She had her first #1 hit in 1990 with "Five Minutes."  Also in 1990, she won the CMA Vocal Event of the Year award for her work with her late husband Keith Whitley.

In 1991, Lorrie returned with her sophomore album Something In Red.  Like her debut, the album reached the Billboard Top 10, and yielded three top ten singles.  On that album, Lorrie paid tribute to one of her musical heroes, George Jones, with her version of his classic "A Picture of Me (Without You)."  She was rewarded with another Top 10 hit.

The album's title track chronicled chronicled the stages of a developing romance through a woman's clothing choices.  Though the single missed the Top 10, it is considered one of Lorrie's finest singles, and ranks as one of her best-remembered hits.

In 1992, Lorrie's third album Watch Me was released on BNA Records, a new division of RCA.  The reached platinum certification, like her first two, thus making Lorrie the first female country music artist in history to have three consecutive albums certified platinum.  Watch Me produced the most successful chart hit of Lorrie's career - the three-week number-one smash, "What Part of No."

Lorrie's 1994 album War Paint yielded no signficant radio hits (The first and most successful single, "My Night to Howl," stalled at #31).  Still, the album reached Top 10 selling status, and was certified Gold in the U.S. and Canada.  By 1995, Lorrie had earned the right to release a super-early Greatest Hits package.  The 11-track album included seven of her solo hits, her duet with Keith Whitely ("'Til a Tear Becomes a Rose"), and three previously unreleased tracks.  One of those new recordings ("I Didn't Know My Own Strength") became Lorrie's third and final chart-topping single.

In 1996, Lorrie released her fifth studio album Greater Need, which featured more stunning vocal performances.  In included the Top 5 hit, "Good As I Was to You," which portrayed an emotional confrontation between a wronged woman, her unfaithful ex-lover, and his new love. (I was unable to embed the music video in this post, but click here to view it on YouTube)

Lorrie had her final Top 10 hit in 1997 with the  #3 "Go Away" - a quirky and humorous song about a woman's tendency to change her mind.  Lorrie's sassy vocal delivery fit the lyrics perfectly.

Lorrie's 1999 album My Heart yielded her final Top 20 single, "Maybe Not Tonight," a duet with then-husband Sammy Kershaw.  By then, her popularity on country radio had declined significantly.

Though Lorrie is no longer heard on country radio, she has continued to tour and record.  In 2001, she released a duets album with Sammy Kershaw (I Finally Found Someone).  She released the highly personal album Show Me How in 2004.  Her most recent release is last year's A Moment In Time, a collection of classic country covers.

At this point, I would like to step from the critic's shoes to the fan's shoes, and say that Lorrie is one artist on the countdown who is particularly special to me.  She, along with Garth Brooks, takes credit for introducing me to country music.  When I was knee-high, my mother used to play her Something In Red album in the living room.  My twin sister and I would listen to her music, and dance around the room in our diapers (Am I oversharing?  I hope not) Hearing that album always brings back memories.  It is largely because of Lorrie Morgan that I became a country music lover, and that this blog exists.  So believe me when I tell you that... Oh my gosh!  Lorrie is like so totally awesome!!!