Jeannie C. Riley (Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson)
BiographyAnson, Texas, USA
Country singer Jeannie C. Riley was born as Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson on October 19, 1945 in the small town of Anson, Texas. Her father was an automobile mechanic and her mother was a nurse. Jeannie fell in love with country music while growing up in Texas and made her public debut as a teenager on her guitarist uncle Johnny Moore's local jamboree show. She married husband Mickey Riley while still in high school. Her daughter Kim Michelle Riley was born on January 11, 1966. The Riley family moved to Nashville, Tennessee later that same year. Read more... Records while recording demos on the side. Her debut single "What About Them" was a flop. However, Riley scored a massive smash in 1968 with the marvelously sharp and sassy Tom T. Hall composition "Harper Valley P.T.A.". A witty critique of small town moral hypocrisy, the song was a huge crossover success; it peaked on both the pop and country charts alike at #1, thus making Jeannie the first female country singer to have a hit single simultaneously soar to the #1 spot on both the pop and country charts. Riley not only won the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (she was also nominated for Grammys as "Best New Artist" and "Record of the Year"), but also won the Single of the Year from the Country Music Association. In addition, the song inspired a 1969 TV musical variety program with Riley as the host, a 1978 film adaptation starring Barbara Eden, and an early 80's spin-off sitcom that also starred Eden. Jeannie's follow-up singles "The Girl Most Likely", "Country Girl", "Oh, Singer" and "Good Enough to be Your Wife" were all Top 10 country hits. At the height of her popularity in the early 70's, Riley not surprisingly made guest appearances on numerous TV shows. In the mid-70's, Jeannie became a born-again Christian and formed the band "The Red River Symphony", which had a minor hit in 1976 with "The Best I Ever Had". She continued to remain a popular contemporary Christian music singer throughout the 80's and 90's. Following a taxing six year bought with clinical depression, Riley has bounced back and even hosts her own weekly radio show called "Inside Nashville Country". Jeannie C. Riley resides in Franklin, Tennessee.