Country singer Billie Jo Spears
birth name: Billie Jean Spears

Billie Jo Spears

January 14, 1937, Beaumont, TX ~ December 14, 2011, Vidor, TX

A singer of country songs with strong women as their protagonists. […] Ms. Spears was best known for her 1975 hit ‘Blanket on the Ground,’ written by Roger Bowling and sung from the point of view of a middle-aged woman who coaxes her hesitant husband outdoors to make love in the moonlight. Recorded when Ms. Spears was 38, the single, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard country chart, was built around an earthy Wall of Sound arrangement, swooning pedal steel guitar and warm backing vocals from the Jordanaires. ~ New York Times: Billie Jo Spears Obituary ~ December 17, 2011 © New York Times

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She was famous for her 1975 international smash hit ‘Blanket on the Ground,’ as well as for working-girl anthems and for songs that fused country and disco. Spears was extremely popular in Great Britain and was a fixture in Branson, Mo. for a time. Born in 1937 in the shipyard city of Beaumont, Texas, she was the daughter of a truck driver father. Her mother was a welder in the shipyards, as well as a guitarist in the Light Crust Doughboys western-swing band. Billie Jo Spears began singing professionally at age 13. She first recorded in Houston at that age and also appeared on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, La. After working as a drive-in restaurant carhop and as a secretary, she moved from Texas to Nashville in 1964. Signing with Capitol Records, she first hit the top-10 on the country charts with 1969’s ‘Mr. Walker It’s All Over,’ the saga of a downtrodden secretary. She followed it with ‘Pittsburgh General,’ which stood up for nurses. Other early singles included ‘Stepchild’ (1969), in which a boy kills his abusive stepfather, and ‘Marty Gray’ (1970), which dealt with teen pregnancy. ~ Music Row: Billie Jo Spears Obituary ~ December 14, 2011 © Music Row

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