Click to listen

Click to listen

Sept. 14: “You must think my bed’s a bus stop, the way you come and go.”

That, from the pen of Susan Manchester and the late Charlie Silver, is one of country music’s great opening lines. It kicks off the first Billboard Top 5 hit in the career of Barbara Mandrell, who began as a wunderkind instrumentalist in her family’s band, reached the height of music and TV stardom and is now enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mandrell had been a solo artist in earnest since 1969, when she signed with Columbia Records. After six years with spotty success — although “The Midnight Oil” (1973) topped the Cashbox chart and landed in the Billboard Top 10 — she moved to ABC/Dot Records and cut “Standing Room Only” in October 1975. It began a series of hits that included her first No. 1, “Sleeping Single In A Double Bed” in 1978. Soon to follow were 13 more Top 5 hits, many industry honors — including two CMA Entertainer of the Year awards — a hit television variety show with her sisters, and an acting career.

The Country Music Hall of Fame's class of 2009: Charlie McCoy, Barbara Mandrell and Roy Clark

The Country Music Hall of Fame's class of 2009: Charlie McCoy, Barbara Mandrell and Roy Clark

Retired since 1997, Mandrell continues to win accolades. She entered the Hall of Fame this year, along with Roy Clark and fellow multi-instrumentalist Charlie McCoy. (Coincidentally, McCoy was one of the musicians on the session at RCA Studio B that produced “Standing Room Only.”) And just over a week ago, she became the first woman to enter the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.

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