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Nashville, TN Country Singer Dottie West Dies from Car Wreck, Sep 1991

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Nashville, Tenn. (AP) -- Country singer DOTTIE WEST died this morning of injuries suffered in a car wreck last week on the way to performing at the Grand Ole Opry, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The 58-year-old singer-songwriter, who won country music's first Grammy for a female vocalist died, at 9:43 a.m. CDT, said Barbara Cramer, spokeswoman for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
WEST was scheduled to undergo surgery this morning to repair her liver, which was severely damaged in Friday's car accident.
WEST probably best know for the hit song
"Country Sunshine" sand duets with Kenny Rogers.
Her career spanned more than 25 years and yielded solo hits like "Here Comes My Baby," the 1964 hit that won the first Grammy for country music performance by a female vocalist.
Her late 1970s duets with Rogers produced a series of hits, including "Every Time Two Fools Collide" and "What Are We Doin' In Love."
However, WEST'S financial fortunes tumbled and she was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1990 with more than $1 million in debts.
The IRS held an auction of WEST'S belongings during the annual Country Music Fan Fair in Summer 1991. WEST attended, signed autographs and bid on some of the items.
WEST was born Oct. 11, 1932, the eldest of 10 children in a poor farm family in McMinnville, outside Nashville.
She began songwriting in 1961, starting out with other struggling artists like Willie Nelson and Roger Miller.
WEST'S image was high-heeled boots, skintight pants, low-cut blouses and Western hats. But she once told an interviewer that she at first turned down a duet with Kris Kristofferson on
"Help Me Make It Through The Night" because the lyrics were too suggestive. Eventually she made the record.
WEST recalled in a 1989 interview how hard it was for a woman to break into country music in the early 1960s when men dominated the field.
"It was tough, especially to work on the road. I don't think they felt girl singers sold tickets. They (booking agents) felt people only bought tickets to hear the male singers, although Kitty Wells, Jean Shepard and Patsy Cline had been successful already."
"They put a package (show) together and they had six or seven guys and one girl. They needed a skirt on the show. When I hit that stage, I went for the applause just as hard as the guys did."
"Radio was hard too. You'd hear seven or eight male vocalists and then one girl. They just didn't play them. Now it's not unusual to see almost all females in the top 10. I think we've overcome that a lot."
WEST was married and divorced three times. She had three sons and a daughter, country singer SHELLY WEST, who teamed with David Frizzell for the country hit "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma."

Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1991-09-04

(Transcriber's Note: I know this is not a very old tragedy, but along with Linda Ronstadt and Patsy Cline, Dottie West were my personal favorite country singers of all time. I just had to tribute her. Stu)

article | by Dr. Radut