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article imageRemembering Jan Howard: The 'Classiest Lady in Country Music'

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 31, 2020 in Music
The country music community mourns the loss of Grand Ole Opry star and a true country queen Jan Howard. She passed away at 91 years old on March 28.
A few weeks ago, on March 13, she celebrated her 91st birthday. She was the oldest member of the Grand Ole Opry; moreover, one day prior to her passing, she celebrated her 49th anniversary as a member of the hallowed Grand Ole Opry.
Born Lula Grace Johnson, Howard started her career as a demo singer. She was the first person that ever recorded "Heartaches By The Number," "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down," "She's Got You" and "I Fall to Pieces," among countless others.
Her classic song "Evil On Your Mind" peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country charts in 1966, and it ranked in the "Top 500 Country Music Greatest Singles of All-Time." She earned a Grammy nomination for "Best Female Country Vocal Performance" for this tune, and she scored a subsequent Grammy nod for "My Son," which she write for her son, who was fighting for our country during the Vietnam War. "My Son" was the song that Howard claimed as her personal favorite.
She was actively involved with the United States military veterans through various programs. Howard donated to various charities to help the veterans and spoke at fundraisers.
Howard scored three Country Music Association (CMA) nominations for "Vocal Duo of the Year" for her musical work with Bill Anderson. Their hit duet "For Loving You" spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay charts, which was her most successful single to date in a commercial standpoint.
A native of Missouri, Howard was one of the most sought-after background vocalists in country music history. Her background vocals can be heard on such Johnny Cash singles as "Ring of Fire," and "Ghost Riders In The Sky." She is known for singing the classic line "Mama Sang Tenor" in Johnny Cash's "Daddy Sang Bass."
Throughout her illustrious career in the music business, Howard performed well over 2,000 times at the historic Grand Ole Opry stage. Affectionately known as the "Classiest Lady in Country Music," Howard has toured and played in ever U.S. state, and in over 20 countries abroad. She has shared the stage with such legendary artists as The Carter Family, Tammy Wynette, and the "Man in Black" himself Johnny Cash.
As a songwriter, Howard's songs have been recorded by county artists as Bill Anderson and Connie Smith, and such legends as Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, Kitty Wells, and Johnny Cash.
In her interview with Digital Journal back in 2014, she shared her love for golf. "I like to play golf and enjoy life," she said. "I would like to get a hole-in-one in the golf course someday. That would be a success since I never had one. I have come 11 inches from a hole-in-one. I play the best I can since I am competing against myself. If I enjoy it, it's a good game."
May Jan Howard RIP, and may her memory be forever eternal.
Grand Ole Opry star Jan Howard
Grand Ole Opry star Jan Howard
Ron Harman
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