More than 25 years after her death, Dottie West is finally being honored with membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood made the announcement Tuesday morning, March 27, in Nashville at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Rotunda. Dottie is being posthumously honored in the veterans category, and will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame this fall at the organization’s Medallion Ceremony. As previously reported, Ricky Skaggs and instrumentalist Johnny Gimble join Dottie in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
Dottie passed away in September 1991 from injuries sustained in a car accident on her way to an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. She became an Opry member in 1964 on the strength of her Grammy-winning hit, “Here Comes My Baby.” In fact, she was the first woman to win a Grammy in a country category.
She continued scoring hits throughout the ’60s both as a solo artist and as a duet partner with Jim Reeves on “Love Is No Excuse” and Don Gibson on”Rings of Gold.”
Early in her career, Dottie was mentored by Patsy Cline, and she passed that gift on to artists coming up behind her, including Jeannie Seely, Larry Gatlin and Steve Wariner.
In the ’70s, Dottie’s hits continued, including her Coca-Cola jingle, “Country Sunshine.” She teamed up with Kenny Rogers later that decade for a string of duets, including “Every Time Two Fools Collide” and “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight.” Their joint tours were also big ticket sellers. Her collaborations with Kenny earned the pair back-to-back CMA vocal duo of the year awards in 1978 and 1978.
Dottie scored a pair of No. 1 country hits on her own in 1980 and 1981 with “Are You Happy Baby” and “A Lesson in Leavin’.” Jo Dee Messina revived the latter song in 1999 to score a No. 2 hit on the country chart.
The late ’70s and ’80s saw Dottie update her sound with more pop overtones. She also updated her image with glitzy, expensive stagewear designed by Bob Mackie, best known for designing revealing looks for Cher and Tina Turner.
in 1995, “Knots Landing” star Michele Lee teamed up with Dottie’s daughter, country hit-maker Shelly West, to make the TV movie, “Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story.” The TV movie cast Michele as Dottie, wearing the country star’s original stage wardrobe and singing Dottie’s biggest hits. Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson were among the superstars making cameos in the film.
Dottie’s own film roles included “The Aurora Encounter” and “Second Fiddle To A Steel Guitar.”