DOTTIE WEST (By Phil Davies)

Born Dorothy Marie Marsh, 11 October 1932, McMinnville, Tennessee

Died 4 September 1991, Nashville, Tennessee

Eldest of 10 children, Dottie worked on the sugar and cotton crops on her father's farm. Her father taught her to play guitar. She left school and got a music degree. While in college Dottie meet her first husband Bill West, he became her manager( later, a well known steel guitarist). Together the couple would get gigs on local tv and clubs. They moved to Cleveland in the mid 50s and appeared on the Landmark Jubilee tv show . In 1959 they moved to Nashville, Dottie became friends with Patsy Cline. She recorded for Starday and Atlantic with little success.

In 1962, she signed for RCA via Chet Atkins ( Jim Reeves had put in a good word) "Let Me Off At the Corner" became her first hit in 1963. She thanked Reeves by writing his number 3 hit Is This Me? They had a top 10 hit duet with "Love Is No Excuse." There was no doubt that Dottie west was one of the hottest rising stars and her follow up self penned top10 hit "Here Comes My Baby" proved it. She won a Grammy for that song, the first female country star to do so.

She duetted with fellow RCA star Don Gibson on Rings Of Gold which reached number 2. Later she duetted with Jimmy Dean. She sang several Coca Cola advert songs and became known as their Country Sunshine Girl after a huge hit with Country Sunshine. She got divorced in 1969, one of her 4 children being country star Shelley West.

She left RCA in 1976 and had more number ones on United Artists. She married and later divorced her drummer. She had 3 number one duets with Kenny Rogers (inc. Every Time Two Fools Collide and All I Ever Need Is You), winning the CMA Vocal Duo Of The Year in 1979. She appeared in a few films, toured Europe and was an Opry member since 1964.

In the 80s she recorded for Liberty , had more hits with Rogers but it all came crashing down in 1991. She was forced to declare bankruptcy and the IRS sold off many of her possessions to pay their million dollar bill, poor business advice lead to unpaid taxes over the years. She even lost the rights to many of her classic songs. Tragedy did not stop there, on Friday August 30th 1991, her car wouldn't start so she asked an 81 year old neighbour to drive her to the Opry tv show. His car crashed at speed on the Opry car park ramp. Badly injured, she got the driver out of the car. Both were rushed to hospital in a critical condition. Dottie was fully aware of her serious internal injuries but couldn't speak. She died on September 4th.

Recommended Listening:

RCA/BMG - The Essential Dottie West

Razor & Tie - Are You Happy Baby? The Dottie West Collection 1976-1984


Official website:

These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
Yahoo Group "Shakin' All Over". For comments or information
please contact Dik de Heer at

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