LeAnn Rimes Overview
LeAnn Rimes had been turning heads long before the release of her groundbreaking debut album, Blue, in 1996. From singing and performing in theater productions at an early age, to belting out the national anthem before packed Dallas Cowboys football games, Rimes was dazzling people with her amazing voice at a very early age. So, it was really no surprise when she became the youngest person to ever win a Grammy, as well as the first country artist to ever take home the Grammy for Best New Artist.
Origins and Early Musical Successes
Born Margaret LeAnn Rimes on August 28, 1982 in Pearl, Mississippi, Rimes moved to the Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas when she was four. At the age two she was already singing, and her parents quickly recognized her prodigious singing ability, so they enrolled her in vocal and dance lessons a year later. By five she was competing in talent shows. Rimes musical career started in musical theater with a role in production of A Christmas Carol in Dallas. Her first major break came when she appeared on the nationally televised talent show, Star Search, hosted Ed McMahon. This exposure opened more doors for Rimes and garnered the attention of countless talent scouts.
Rimes’ father, Wilbur, was instrumental in directing the early trajectory of his daughter’s career. She performed “The Star Spangled Banner” numerous times in front of nationally televised Dallas Cowboys games, as well as for the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League and the Texas Rangers major league baseball team. When she was eleven, she began recording with a local independent label, and she released three albums. She was eventually discovered by famed disc jockey and record promoter, Bill Mack, whose plan was to have Rimes record “Blue,” a song he claims to have written for Patsy Cline to record before her untimely death—a claim that remains disputed.
Blue Shocks the Country World
With Mack’s help, Rimes signed with Curb Records in 1995, and recorded her debut album, Blue. The album’s title track was the first single released, and it shot to No. 10 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart. It also crossed-over to No. 26 on the pop chart. The strength of the single helped in the album reaching No. 1 on the country chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The album, Blue, sold 123,000 units in its first week on its way to selling over four million units domestically and another four million internationally.
The second single from Blue, “Hurt Me,” stalled at No. 43, but the third single, “One Way Ticket (Because I Can),” became Rimes’ first No. 1 hit. The album’s final single, a duet with Hall of Famer, Eddy Arnold, on his classic song, “Cattle Call,” reached No. 5. The success of Blue garnered Rimes numerous awards, including Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her single, “Blue.” She also became the youngest person to ever be nominated and win a Country Music Association award when she took home the Horizon Award for the Best New Artist.
Next Two Albums Debut at No. 1
Rimes next album, Unchained Melody: The Early Years, was released in February of 1997 and consisted mainly of cover tunes originally recorded by artists including Dolly Parton, Bill Monroe, The Beatles and Patsy Montana. She recorded the songs for the independent Nor Va Jak label prior to signing with Curb. The album debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard Country Albums chart and the Billboard 200. The title track was the only single released, and it climbed to No. 3 on the country chart.
Later in 1997, Rimes released her second studio album, You Light up My Life: Inspirational Songs. Comprised of inspirational and pop remakes, it was her second straight album to debut at No. 1 on both the country and all-genre charts. The album’s first single, “How Do I Live,” was positioned more as a pop single. It eventually hit No. 2 on the pop chart, No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart but only No. 43 on the country chart. Trisha Yearwood’s version of the song became the country hit, and it was the version used on the soundtrack to the movie, Con Air. Rimes’ version spent sixty-nine weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, which was a record she held for eleven years.
Three More Platinum Albums Follow
Rimes next three studio albums would all achieve platinum success. In 1998, Sittin’ on Top of the World debuted at No. 2 on the country chart and No. 3 on the pop chart on its way to going platinum. Her next two studio albums, 1999’s LeAnn Rimes and 2001’s I Need You both hit No. 1 on the country albums chart. Those three albums spawned four top ten country hits. Before the decade was over, Rimes released four more studio albums, Twisted Angel (2002), This Woman (2005), Whatever We Wanna (2006) and Family (2007).
Best LeAnn Rimes Songs:
- “One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”
- “How Do I Live”
- “Unchained Melody”
LeAnn Rimes Studio Albums:
- Unchained Melody: The Early Years
- You Light up My Life: Inspirational Songs
- Sittin’ on Top of the World
- LeAnn Rimes
- I Need You
- Twisted Angel
- This Woman
- Whatever We Wanna