Tanya Denise Tucker (born October 10, 1958, in Seminole, Texas) is a female American country music artist who had her first hit, "Delta Dawn," in 1972 at the age of 13. Over the succeeding decades, Tucker became one of the few child performers to mature into adulthood without losing her audience, and during the course of her career produced many Top 40 hits.
Tucker made her debut with Mel Tillis, who was so impressed by her talents that he invited her onstage to perform. In 1969 the family moved to Las Vegas, where she regularly performed. Eventually, she recorded a demo tape that gained the attention of songwriter Dolores Fuller, who sent it to producer Billy Sherrill at CBS Records. Sherrill was impressed with the demo tape and signed the teenaged vocalist to Columbia Records.
Sherrill initially planned to have Tucker record "The Happiest Girl In the Whole USA," but she passed on the tune to Donna Fargo, choosing "Delta Dawn,” a song she heard Bette Midler sing on ''The Tonight Show,” instead. Released in the spring of 1972, the song became a hit, peaking at #6 on the country charts and scraping the bottom of the pop charts. At first, Columbia Records tried to downplay Tucker's age, but soon word leaked out and she became a sensation. A year later, Australian singer Helen Reddy would score a #1 U.S. pop hit with her version of "Delta Dawn."
Her second single, "Love's the Answer," also became a Top 10 hit later in 1972. Tucker's third single, "What's Your Mama's Name," became her first #1 hit in the spring of 1973. Two other #1 singles followed, "Blood Red and Goin' Down" and "Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)," establishing Tucker as a major star.
In 1975, she signed with MCA Records, where she had a string of hit singles that ran into the late 1970s. Among these hits was "Lizzie and the Rainman," which became a #1 Country hit and also became Tucker's only Top 40 Pop music hit, peaking at #37. It also peaked among the Top 10 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Tucker had string of Top 10 Country hits under MCA between 1975 and 1978, including "San Antonio Stroll," "Here's Some Love" and "It's a Cowboy-Lovin Night".
In 1978, she decided to radically change her image and cross over to rock with her ''TNT” album. Despite the controversy over the record and its sexy cover, it went gold the following year. Two songs from the album became hits, "Texas (When I Die)" and "I'm a Singer, You're the Song." The biggest hit from the album was "Texas (When I Die)" which reached #5 on the Country charts, and also peaking in the bottom of the Pop charts at #70.
By the end of the '70s, her sales were declining and in 1980 she only had two hits. Also in 1980, she recorded a few singles with Glen Campbell, with whom she was romantically linked. In addition to recording, she also made her feature film debut in ''Hard Country.”
Despite having a Top 10 hit in 1982 with her album ''Changes,'' she still remained unsuccessful and by 1983, her singles were no longer making the Top 40.
While Tucker was battling drugs and alcohol in the early 80s, her music career was suffering. In 1984 and 1985, she had no released singles to the Country charts.
In 1986 Tucker signed with Capitol Records and returned with "One Love at a Time," which climbed to #3. Her career was revitalized with 1986's “Girls Like Me,” an album that spawned four Top 10 country singles. In 1988 she had three No. 1 country singles, "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love" (with Paul Davis and Paul Overstreet), "If It Don't Come Easy" and "Strong Enough to Bend."
Her music was now more country pop-styled and up-tempo, and this material made Tucker popular again. Between 1988 and 1989, Tucker enjoyed one of her most popular years on the charts, racking up eight Country Top 10 hits in a row. Her albums around this time also achieved gold certifications by the RIAA. A “Greatest Hits” album followed in 1989, releasing a Top 5 hit to the country charts that year from the album, "My Arms Stay Open All Night," which peaked at #2.
Her contribution to the country music genre was rewarded when the Country Music Association voted her the "Female vocalist of the Year" in 1991. Eight consecutive singles reached the Top 10 in the early 1990s, including "Down to My Last Teardrop," "(Without You) What Do I Do With Me" and "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane."
In 1990 Tucker was named Female Video Artist of the Year by CMT. Her 1993 album “Greatest Hits” rose to #15, and also went to #18 on the Top Country Albums chart. By the 1990s Tucker was a 20-year veteran in country music, even though she was only in her mid-30s. In 1994, "Hangin' On" was her last Top 5 hit, as well as her last Top 10 hit.
In 1996 she was one of the Top 10 most-played artists of the year. In 1997 she returned to the Top 10 on the Country charts for the last time with the hit, "Little Things," which peaked at #9. That year she was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.
In 2002 Tucker founded Tuckertime Records, allowing her to retain control of the recording process and release the singles she wished to release. The same year she issued “Tanya,” her first album in five years, which was distributed through Capitol Records. The album was produced by her fiancé, Jerry Laseter, and included a guest vocal by Vince Gill.
In 2005 she released an album, “Live at Billy Bob's Texas.” In 2005 she also contributed two songs to a tribute album to Bob Wills, called “A Tribute to Bob Wills 100th Anniversary.”
In 2009 Tanya signed a one-time deal with Saguaro Road Records from Time-Life. Tanya's first cover album of her career, “My Turn,” was released in June 2009 and placed #27 on the Billboard country chart. The first single "Love's Gonna Live Here" was released to radio and was also available as a digital single. It is a remake of the classic hit by Buck Owens. The album includes classic country hits such as "Wine Me Up," "Lovesick Blues," "You Don't Know Me," "Ramblin' Fever," "Walk Through This World With Me," "Big Big Love," "Crazy Arms," "After The Fire Is Gone" and "Oh Lonesome Me."
To date, Tucker, has sold 19 million albums world-wide.