|Billie Jo Spears|
An American country music singer. She reached the top-10 of the Country music charts five times between 1969 and 1977, her biggest hit being "Blanket on the Ground", which, in 1975, became her only number one. She was known for her bluesy voice.
Born Billie Jean Spears, although she had her biggest country hits in the 1970s, she sounded more earthy and more grounded on records than other country music singers during that time.
This was because during the height of Spears' career in the 1970s, country's sound moved more pop-sounding. This new type of Country was called countrypolitan, and the popular singers of this genre at the time were Crystal Gayle, Lynn Anderson, Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, and Mac Davis. However, Spears, unlike so many of her contemporaries, did not follow the trends of the day, and proved to Nashville that country music can still have a more earthy sound.
She made her professional debut at age 13 at a country music concert in Houston, Texas. She cut her first single while she was still a teenager called "Too Old For Toys, Too Young For Boys".
She got her first recording contract with United Artists Records, and worked with producer Kelso Herston. Her first singles brought her little success. Soon her producer moved over to Capitol Records and Spears followed. She earned a recording contract there in 1968.
In 1975, Spears returned to United Artists Records, which was now the home to some of country music's pop-based acts, like Kenny Rogers. She returned to the charts in 1975 with "Blanket on the Ground".
Spears continued releasing albums in the United States into the 1980s. However, by the late 1980s, the number of recording projects dropped dramatically. By the mid 1980s, her overall success in the United States had tapered off. However, she retained a following in the UK.
She recovered from triple bypass surgery in 1993. She continued to tour for more than 16 years.
In later years, she made her home in Vidor, Texas, near her hometown of Beaumont, where she died of cancer on December 14, 2011, at age 74.
The above data has partly been extracted from the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia giving the reader extra information.