Tanya Tucker is much, much more than a one-hit wonder, because after her signature “Delta Dawn,” she charted hits in four decades and collected 10 Grammy nominations, a CMA Award for female vocalist, and in 2015, the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. But as one reminisces about Tucker’s magnificent career, that all-time country classic seems like the right place to start.
As she launches the CMT Next Women of Country Tour this week, get to know about Tucker’s career through these 10 outstanding tracks.
Tucker knows how to make an entrance. She recorded and released this debut single in 1972, at a mere 13 years old. She often credits producer Billy Sherrill for respecting a kid’s input about what to record.
“What’s Your Mama’s Name”
Tucker’s time with Epic Records lasted just a few years, though most of her captivating story songs come from this era. In this 1973 tale, a man returns from Memphis to locate the daughter he’s only heard about.
“San Antonio Stroll”
A cheerful number from 1975, “San Antonio Stroll” stokes nostalgia with nimble instrumentation and an irresistible melody. It’s hard to imagine a 16-year-old performer recording a No. 1 single like this today.
“Texas (When I Die)”
Tucker caught a lot of flak for her explosive TNT album cover, which contradicted her country career to that point. Yet, that 1978 project concludes with this country staple, giving her the last word in the matter.
“Just Another Love”
After an early ‘80s career slump, Tucker took an offer from Capitol Records to try and turn things around — and “Just Another Love” led to her first No. 1 in a decade. Paul Davis wrote this catchy comeback hit from 1986.
“Love Me Like You Used To”
Not yet 30, Tucker sings about a romantic spark flickering out. Instead of rolling in the sheets, they’re just watching TV. This 1987 single showed she could deliver a ballad, a talent she embraced in the years ahead.
“Strong Enough to Bend”
As one of country’s most resilient artists, who better to sing this sweet love song? “Strong Enough to Bend,” from 1988, blossomed as Tucker’s top hit of the decade. Amid this acoustic arrangement, her alto shines.
“Down to My Last Teardrop”
For fans drawn to female artists, the ‘90s felt like Heaven. Tucker claimed her spot as a sultry, sassy singer who could command a stage. She exudes confidence on this 1991 crowd-pleaser, also by Paul Davis.
“Two Sparrows in a Hurricane”
Released in 1992 as an ode to Tucker’s parents, “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane” shares a lifelong relationship in song. Of course the third verse will get you choked up. One of Tucker’s most exquisite vocals.
“Bring My Flowers Now”
“Bring My Flowers Now” and the 2019 album While I’m Livin’ marked a Grammy-winning resurgence. Tucker has said she carried this song idea around for the last 30 years. As an encore to her career, it’s perfect timing.