Tanya's early childhood was spent primarily in Willcox, Arizona, where the only radio station in town played country music. The Tucker family used to attend country music concerts featuring stars such as Ernest Tubb and Mel Tillis. When she was eight, Tanya told her family she wanted to be a country singer when she grew up.
After the Tuckers moved to Saint George, Utah, and there Tanya won a small part in the movie Jeremiah Johnson. Soon after Tanya made her professional singing debut with Mel Tillis, who was so impressed by her talents that he invited her onstage to perform.
In 1969, Tucker and her family moved to Las Vegas, where she regularly performed. In 1972, she recorded "Delta Dawn." The song became a hit, peaking at number six on the country charts and eking out a spot on the pop charts.
Her second single, "Love's the Answer," also became a Top Ten hit later in 1972. Tucker's third single, "What's Your Mama's Name," became her first number one hit in the spring of 1973. Two other number ones — "Blood Red and Goin' Down" and "Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)" followed, establishing Tucker as a major star.
In 1975, she signed with MCA Records, where she had a string of hit singles that ran into the late '70s including "Lizzie and the Rainman," which became a #1 Country hit and also became Tucker's only Top 40 Pop music hit, peaking at #37. It also peaked among the Top 10 on the Adult Contemporary charts at the time.
Tucker has a string of Top 10 Country hits under MCA between 1975 and 1978, including "San Antonio Stroll," "Here's Some Love," and "It's a Cowboy-Lovin Night."
In the late '70s, she radically changed her image and crossed over to rock. Despite the controversy over the record and its sexy cover, it went gold the following year. Two songs from the album became hits, "Texas (When I Die)" and "I'm a Singer, You're the Song." The biggest hit from the album was "Texas (When I Die)" which reached #5 on the Country charts, and also peaking in the bottom of the Pop charts at #70.
By the end of the '70s, her record sales slumped. In 1980, she recorded duets with Glen Campbell, with whom she was romantically linked. In addition to recording, she also made her feature film debut in Hard Country. Despite having a Top 10 hit in 1982 with her album Changes, she still remained unsuccessful By 1983, her singles were no longer making the Top 40.
Though she moved to Nashville after her breakup with Campbell in 1982 and began to lead a more secluded life, Tucker continued to drink and use cocaine. In 1986, she recorded "One Love at a Time," which climbed to number three. Tucker's career was revitalized with 1986's album, Girls Like Me, an album that spawned four Top 10 country singles. In 1988, she had three No. 1 country singles: "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love" - with Paul Davis and Paul Overstreet - "If It Don't Come Easy" and "Strong Enough to Bend."
Her music was now more country pop-styled and up-tempo, but this material was what made Tucker popular again. Between 1988 and 1989, Tucker endured one of her most popular years on the charts, racking up nearly eight Country Top 10 hits in a row. Her albums around this time were also achieving "Gold" certifications by the RIAA, after selling 500,000 copies. A Greatest Hits album followed in 1989, releasing a Top 5 hit to the country charts that year from the album called "My Arms Stay Open All Night," which peaked at #2.
In 1988, Tucker was nominated by the Country Music Association for "Female Vocalist of the Year." In 1991, the Country Music Association voted her the "Female vocalist of the Year. During the next ten years she continued to record and in 2002, Tucker was ranked #20 on CMT's 40 Greatest Women of Country Music.
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