Billie Jo Spears
Billie Jo Spears
Billie Jo Spears landed a few big country hits during the '70s, thanks to a sultry, bluesy voice that made her a perfect torch balladeer; while she never quite edged her way into stardom in the U.S., she earned a devoted following in Great Britain and toured there frequently. Spears was born in Beaumont, TX, in 1937 and made her professional debut at age 13 in an all-star country concert in Houston; not long after, she recorded the single "Too Old for Toys, Too Young for Boys" as Billie Joe Moore for Abbott Records. After high school, she sang in nightclubs and looked for a record deal, recording some demos with producer Pete Drake. She got a contract with United Artists in 1964 and moved to Nashville, where she worked with producer Kelso Herston. Her initial singles fared poorly, and when Herston moved to Capitol two years later, Spears followed. Success continued to elude her until 1969, when "Mr. Walker, It's All Over" climbed into the country Top Five. She charted several more times through 1972 but was forced to have surgery on her vocal cords twice over the next two years in order to remove nodules and polyps that could have robbed her of her voice entirely.
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