Jeannie Seely has been an iconic fixture in country music for over 50 years. Born Marilyn Jeanne on July 6, 1940, Seely was surrounded by music from a young age: Her father played the banjo in local square dances, and Seely grew up singing alongside her mother around the house. She began her career as a songwriter in California when she was just 21 and by the time she moved to Nashville in 1965, she was already well-known within the industry as a writer and performer.
Seely released her first hit song just a year after arriving in Music City. Her 1996 single, “Don’t Touch Me,” shot to the top of the charts, earned Seely a Grammy Award and even garnered an invitation to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1967. The girl who had been listening to the Opry radio show since she was 11 earned her very own place on the cast list just 16 years later!
The success of “Don’t Touch Me” was just the start of a prolific and influential career. Along with a host of other popular songs like “Can I Sleep in Your Arms” and “Lucky Ladies,” Seely experienced success as a duet partner with both Porter Wagoner and Jack Greene, the latter of whom she recorded the Top 10 hit, “Wish I Didn’t Have to Miss You.”
From her success as a songwriter to her popularity as a duet partner to her influence as a solo artist, Seely’s work has impacted generations of country, Americana and bluegrass performers. Keep reading to hear five of The Boot’s favorite songs.