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Gene Watson's peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as 'the singer's singer' - and rightly so!
All of Gene Watson's Peers who were contacted during 2005 were most gracious with their time and words. It is here, within this special part of the Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Jeannie Seely, which she submitted to this site on Thursday 5 May 2005.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Jeannie Seely who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Thursday 5 May 2005.
'As I have said many times when I have had the honour of introducing Gene on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, he truly is a singer's singer!
Not only does he have one of the most unique, true voices in our business, he delivers the song with so much emotion that you feel exactly what the songwriter was trying to tell you, and you can understand every word.
Other than that, I don't like him much! I'm also proud to call him my friend'.
Thank you, Jeannie Seely, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Jeannie Seely...
Jeannie Seely, on the night of Saturday 16 September 1967, marked an important milestone in her music career by joining the world-famous Grand Ole Opry. The distinctive-voiced lady, referred to as 'Miss Country Soul', became the first and, to date, the only Pennsylvania native to become an Opry member.
Jeannie Seely is among a select group of country artists who have scored No.1 hits as a solo artist, as a duet partner, and as a songwriter.
Born on Saturday 6 July 1940, in Titusville, Pennsylvania, the town where the world’s very first oil well was drilled in 1859, Jeannie Seely grew up as the youngest of Leo and Irene Seely's four children. The family's two-story farmhouse still stands along a dirt road outside of nearby Townville, a community of about three hundred folks located in the north-western corner of the state.
Jeannie Seely's interest in music was influenced strongly by her parents; Leo Seely worked hard on the family's farm and at a Titusville steel mill, but found time on weekends to play the banjo and call local square dances, while Irene Seely would sing with her daughter every Saturday morning while the two baked bread together.
When she was barely tall enough to reach the dial on her family's big Philco console radio, Jeannie Seely was tuning in the Grand Ole Opry on station WSM 650AM. At the age of eleven, she began singing for a Saturday morning radio show on Meadville station WMGW and, by the time she was sixteen, Jeannie was performing on television station WICU in Erie.
At Hillbilly Park, Jeannie Seely had the opportunity to see performers like Bill Monroe (Wednesday 13 September 1911 - Monday 9 September 1996) and Ralph Stanley, as well as Josh Graves who played on her 'Life’s Highway' album. She also obtained autographed photos of stars like Jean Shepard, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper.
A cheerleader, majorette and honour student while attending Townville High School, Jeannie sang at local amateur contests and began performing at weekend dances throughout north-western Pennsylvania.
Following high school graduation in 1958, Jeannie worked for three years at a Titusville bank. Initially hired as a stenographer, she was later promoted to a secretarial position for the bank's auditor.
During this period, Jeannie Seely continued her education by completing night classes (in subjects like business finance and law) that were conducted by the American Institute of Banking in Oil City. Both the local and national American Institute of Banking organisations have since made Jeannie an honorary lifetime member for her efforts in promoting the name and spirit of the organisation.
At the age of twenty-one, Jeannie Seely packed everything she could into her car, shipped the rest to 'General Delivery, Los Angeles' and headed west. She initially took a job at a Beverly Hills bank, but left it after a year to take a secretarial position for half the money at Liberty & Imperial Records in Hollywood.
With a foot in the door of the music business, she began writing songs for Four Star Music and became a regular act, along with an unknown Glen Campbell, on the 'Hollywood Jamboree' television series. Rhythm and blues artist Irma Thomas recorded a composition by Jeannie titled 'Anyone Who Knows What Love Is' and scored a national pop hit with it.
Jeannie Seely's song-writing led to her own recording contract on Challenge Records. A couple of regional hits and a West Coast tour resulted, but unfortunately she received no national attention. A young songwriter visiting California named Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010) was impressed with Jeannie's talent and suggested she move to Nashville. Jeannie, however, didn't think she was ready.
Upon the encouragement of singer Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) who recorded one of her songs, Jeannie finally took Hank Cochran's advice and moved to Nashville in the fall of 1965. Within a month, Porter Wagoner (Friday 12 August 1927 - Sunday 28 October 2007) hired her to replace Norma Jean as the female singer for his road show and syndicated television series.
Connie Smith recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Senses' (co-written with Glen Campbell) and included the track on 'Connie Smith' (RCA Records, 1965).
Initially turned down by every record label in town, Jeannie Seely finally got the big break she needed when a recording contract was offered by Monument Records. On Saturday 12 March 1966, Jeannie Seely went into a recording studio and recorded a Hank Cochran ballad titled 'Don't Touch Me'.
'Don't Touch Me' was included on Jeannie Seely's 'The Seely Style' (Monument Records, 1966).
Within only a few weeks, the song debuted on the country music singles chart where it stayed for over five months. Although it held at the No.2 position for three weeks on Billboard, the record actually went to No.1 on all the other major charts, including Cashbox and Record World; it was also a crossover hit on the national pop charts.
Today 'Don't Touch Me' is considered a standard in country music. Jeannie Seely's recording of the song is ranked at No.97 in the book 'Heartaches by the Number: Country Music's 500 Greatest Singles', which was written by David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren. The book, which was released in 2003, was published by the Vanderbilt University Press and the Country Music Foundation Press.
'Don’t Touch Me' is also included in 'The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs', which was written by Ace Collins and published by Boulevard Books. The author wrote, 'Hank Cochran’s 'Don’t Touch Me' has stood the test of time like few other works. Hauntingly beautiful, poetry set to meter, this composition merits particular praise for the exquisite manner in which it relates its story of love, doubt and commitment'.
The book describes how Buck Owens desperately wanted the song that Jeannie ultimately recorded and made a hit. Country versions of 'Don’t Touch Me' have been recorded by Don Gibson (Tuesday 3 April 1928 - Monday 17 November 2003), Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 - Monday 6 April 1998), George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013), Lorrie Morgan, Ray Price, Lynn Anderson, Eddy Arnold, Roy Clark and Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991), but none were charted singles.
Don Gibson (Tuesday 3 April 1928 - Monday 17 November 2003) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Great Country Songs' (RCA Records, 1966).
Eddy Arnold recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'The Last Word In Lonesome' (RCA Records, 1966).
Ray Price recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Another Bridge To Burn' (Columbia Records, 1966).
Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'With All My Heart & Soul' (RCA Records, 1967).
Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 - Monday 6 April 1998) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad' (Epic Records, 1967).
Lynn Anderson recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Songs That Made Country Girls Famous' (Chart Records, 1969).
Roy Clark recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'The Incredible Roy Clark' (Dot Records, 1971).
Lorrie Morgan recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'War Paint' (BNA Records, 1994).
George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'It Don't Get Any Better Than This' (MCA Records, 1998).
In June 1966, Jeannie Seely was invited to make her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. She received 'Most Promising New Artist' awards in 1966 from all the national trade publications including Billboard, Cashbox and Record World, as well as from polls of country music fans and radio DJs across the United States of America.
On Thursday 2 March 1967, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honoured Jeannie Seely with the 1966 Grammy Award for the 'Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female'.
Edging out friends and fellow nominees Loretta Lynn ('Don’t Come Home A Drinkin'), Dottie West ('Would You Hold It Against Me'), Connie Smith ('Ain’t Had No Loving') and Jan Howard ('Evil On Your Mind'), Jeannie Seely became only the third female country artist to receive the coveted Grammy. She accepted her award from Chet Atkins (Friday 20 June 1924 - Saturday 30 June 2001).
With a successful breakthrough hit, Jeannie Seely found herself travelling from coast to coast for concert appearances. The new demands forced her to leave Porter Wagoner's show - today Jeannie jokes that she was replaced by Dolly Parton because Dolly’s ‘hits’ were bigger. New opportunities for Jeannie included many concert and television appearances with the legendary Ernest Tubb (Monday 9 February 1914 - Thursday 6 September 1984).
In March 1967, Jeannie Seely saw the release of 'Thanks Hank' (Monument Records, 1967), an album that included her rendition of Hank Cochran's 'Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)'; Gene Watson recorded 'Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)' and included the track on 'In a Perfect World' (Shanachie Records, 2007).
In September 1967, Jeannie Seely fulfilled her lifelong dream by joining the Grand Ole Opry. Known throughout her career as an individualist, as well as for her infectious humour, Jeannie Seely is widely recognised for changing the image of female country performers; she is also credited with being the first woman to wear a mini-skirt on the Grand Ole Opry stage.
When at home, Jeannie Seely made frequent guest appearances on television shows like 'Hee Haw' and 'That Nashville Music'. On Sunday 22 March 1970, Jeannie was a featured guest on 'Glen Campbell's Goodtime Hour'.
Working with distinguished producers, including Fred Foster and Owen Bradley (Thursday 21 October 1915 - Wednesday 7 January 1998), Jeannie Seely recorded more than a dozen albums and over two dozen singles on the Monument, Decca, MCA and Columbia labels.
Jeannie Seely placed singles on Billboard's national country music charts for thirteen consecutive years, from 1966 through to 1978. Among her over two dozen Billboard country music hits were 'It's Only Love', 'A Wanderin' Man', 'I'll Love You More', 'He Can Be Mine', 'Welcome Home To Nothing', 'Little Things' and 'When It's Over'.
A 1969 duet, which was recorded with fellow Opry member Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013), called 'Wish I Didn't Have To Miss You', was No.1 on the Billboard country music singles chart and launched one of the most successful duos and road shows in country music history.
Nominated for numerous Country Music Association (CMA) and Grammy awards, Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013) and Jeannie Seely toured together for over ten years, performing everywhere from New York's Madison Square Garden to London's Wembley Arena.
In 1973, Jeannie Seely transformed the hobo lament 'Can I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister?' into the Billboard Top 10 country music hit 'Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight Mister?'. In 1974, she adapted the Appalachian ballad 'Come All You Fair And Tender Ladies' into another hit single titled 'Lucky Ladies'.
Jeannie Seely's compositions have been recorded by a wide variety of country music artists, including Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991), Norma Jean, Tex Williams (Thursday 23 August 1917 - Friday 11 October 1985), Lorrie Morgan, Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013), Connie Smith and Doyle Lawson.
Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Another Heart For You To Break' (co-written with Carl Belew and Clyde Pitts) and included the track on 'Suffer Time' (RCA Records, 1966).
Ray Price recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Enough To Lie' and included the track on 'Touch My Heart' (Columbia Records, 1967).
Johnny Carver recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Senses' (co-written with Glen Campbell) and included the track on 'You're in Good Hands' (Imperial Records, 1968).
Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Leavin' And Sayin' Goodbye' and included the track on 'Greene Country' (Decca Records, 1971).
Faron Young (Thursday 25 February 1932 - Tuesday 10 December 1996) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Leavin' And Sayin' Goodbye' and included the track on 'Leavin' & Sayin' Goodbye' (Mercury Records, 1971); the track reached No.9 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1971 and earned Jeannie Seely a BMI Songwriter Award.
Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013) and Jeannie Seely recorded Jeannie Seely's 'It Doesn't Seem To Matter' and included the track on 'Two For The Show' (Decca Records, 1972).
Hank Williams Junior recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Name Dropper' (co-written with Glenn Martin) and included the track on 'After You, Pride's Not Hard to Swallow' (MGM Records, 1973).
Merle Haggard recorded Jeannie Seely's 'My Love For You' and included the track on 'Ramblin' Fever' (MCA Records, 1977).
Ernest Tubb (Monday 9 February 1914 - Thursday 6 September 1984) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Sometimes I Do' and included the track on 'The Living Legend' (First Generation Records, 1977).
Merle Haggard recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Life Of A Rodeo Cowboy', which was co-written with Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010), and included the track on 'I'm Always On A Mountain When I Fall' (MCA Records, 1978).
Little Jimmy Dickens recorded Jeannie Seely's 'She Always Got What She Wanted' and included the track on 'Country Music Hall of Fame' (King Records, 1982).
For several years, Jeannie Seely was married to Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010), the writer of such songs as 'Make The World Go Away', 'She’s Got You', 'I Fall To Pieces', 'The Chair' and 'Ocean Front Property'. The marriage, the first and only for Jeannie Seely, but the fourth for Hank Cochran, finally ended in divorce.
In 1977, Jeannie Seely's career almost ended abruptly when she was involved in a near fatal automobile accident that left her with serious multiple injuries. It was with the help and support of best friend Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) that Jeannie was able to recover and get back on her feet. Ironically, Dottie West's death on Wednesday 4 September 1991 was due to injuries she suffered in an automobile accident while enroute to the Grand Ole Opry.
Chris LeDoux (Saturday 2 October 1948 - Wednesday 9 March 2005) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Life Of A Rodeo Cowboy', which was co-written with Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010) and included the track on 'Old Cowboy Heroes' (ACS Records, 1981).
In 1995, Jeannie Seely served as a consultant for the CBS television movie about Dottie’s life titled 'Big Dreams And Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story' and Jeannie was portrayed in the movie by actress Cathy Worthington.
In the early 1980s, Jeannie Seely performed as the opening act for friend Willie Nelson's concert dates across the country. She also appeared in Willie's successful 'Honeysuckle Rose' movie and sang on the soundtrack recording, a contribution which earned her a platinum album.
Jeannie Seely became the first female artist to regularly host half-hour segments of the Grand Ole Opry. Those hosting duties actually began in 1985 when she was called upon as a last minute replacement for Del Reeves (Thursday 14 July 1932 - Monday 1 January 2007), the scheduled host, who was caught in a rare Nashville snowstorm.
Lorrie Morgan recorded Jeannie Seely's 'I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand' and included the track on 'Shakin' Things Up' (OMS Records, 1997).
Lorrie Morgan has credited Jeannie Seely as being a major influence in her career and has often referred to the Opry cohort as her 'second mom'.
In 2000, Jeannie Seely was inducted into the North American Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2003, she was honoured with induction into the George D. Hay Music Hall of Fame, located in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas and it was also in 2003 that Jeannie received the 2003 Legend Award from Bluebird Country News.
In the fall of 2003, Jeannie Seely saw the release of her own acoustic and bluegrass project 'Life’s Highway' (OMS Records, 2003); the album featured musicians Josh Graves, Glen Duncan, Steve Wariner, Jesse McReynolds and Buck White, along with harmony vocals from Charlie Louvin (Thursday 7 July 1927 - Wednesday 26 January 2011), The Osborne Brothers and The Whites.
Visit Jeannie Seely's Official Site