Jeannie Seely's mother has said that Jeannie was just four when she learned to stretch up, tune the knob on her family's big console radio to 650 WSM and keep it there. Jeannie Seely is still on the dial at 650 WSM?performing regularly on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Jeannie, who was raised near Townville, Pennsylvania, remembers sitting in the family's Ford, eating popcorn and drinking soda pop, listening to the Opry on Saturday nights while her parents played cards at friends' houses.
Jeannie, who was raised near Townville, Pennsylvania, remembers sitting in the family's Ford, eating popcorn and drinking soda pop, listening to the Opry on Saturday nights while her parents played cards at friends' houses.
By age 11, she was performing on a weekly radio show in nearby Meadville and a few years later turned up on TV in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Years of playing auditoriums, small clubs, and country music parks followed. Moving to California, she worked as a secretary with Liberty and Imperial Records in Hollywood before moving to Nashville in 1965 at the urging of Opry member Dottie West.
?I don't know enough to go there yet,? Jeannie remembers telling West. Dottie's response: ?Jeannie, that's where you go to learn.?
A recording contract with Monument Records gave Jeannie her first hit in 1966 with the bluesy Hank Cochran tune ?Don't Touch Me,? which went to the top of the charts and earned her a Grammy Award. One year later, the singer who became famous as ?Miss Country Soul? fulfilled her childhood dream by becoming a member of the Opry cast.
Other hits followed??I'll Love You More (Than You Need),? ?Can I Sleep in Your Arms,? and ?Lucky Ladies.? Jeannie briefly worked as duet partner of Porter Wagoner and had a successful touring and recording partnership with fellow Opry member Jack Greene, including the Top 10 single ?Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You.? Jeannie is also a successful songwriter, with songs cut by Dottie West, Faron Young, Connie Smith, Willie Nelson, and Ray Price. Just one of her memorable songs is ?Leavin' and Sayin' Goodbye,? a 1973 hit for Young.
Known for her plainspoken ways and sometimes earthy humor, Seely published a book of witticisms, Pieces of a Puzzled Mind, in 1989.
In 2000, Jeannie, who has made frequent stage and screen appearances, hit the road for Atlantic City to portray the character of Louise opposite her friend Terri Williams in Always ... Patsy Cline. The role was that of an energetic, funny woman with a heart full of love for her friends and for country music?a part she knew quite well.
In 2003, Seely released Life's Highway, a country/bluegrass project with contributions from famous friends including Steve Wariner, the Osborne Brothers, and the Whites.