Monday, December 21, 2020
– K.T. Oslin, best known for her hit "80's Ladies," died today at 78.
Oslin was diagnosed with COVID a week before her death. She had four other number one hits including "Come Next Monday," "Do Ya," "I'll Always Come Back" and "Hey Bobby."
"80's Ladies" earned her two CMA Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year in 1988. In addition to multiple Grammys and ACM Awards, Oslin was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014 and was voted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
"K.T. Oslin had one of the most soulful voices in country music and was a strong influence for women with her hit '80's Ladies'. I was fortunate to work with K.T. on a number of television shows in the late '90s. She was always gracious to the crews and up-and-coming talent performing alongside her. She truly had one of the best voices in the history of our format. Our thoughts go out to her loved ones at this difficult time," said Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO.
Kay Toinette Oslin was born in Crossett, Ark. on May 15, 1942. Her father, a foreman at a paper mill, died when she was five. Oslin and her mother then moved to Houston she later performed in a folk trio that included Guy Clark and David Jones. They recorded an album, but it was never released.
Oslin moved to New York City, appearing in "West Side Story," "Promises, Promises"and "Hello Dolly!" She sang commercial jingles around New York and started writing songs.
In 1981, she signed to Elektra Records and released two singles as Kay T. Oslin: "Clean Your Own Tables" and "Younger Men (Are Startin' to Catch My Eye)". The former made number 72 on the Hot Country Songs charts, but "Younger Men" never charted.
Oslin had success as a songwriter with Gail Davies, The Judds and Dottie West recording her song Oslin did a showcase performance in Nashville, where she caught the eye of producer Harold Shedd, best known for his work with Alabama. With Shedd's help, Oslin, now known as K.T. Oslin, inked with RCA in 1987.
Oslin's first RCA single, "Wall of Tears", made number 40 on the country charts. It was followed by "80's Ladies", which went to number seven as well as the number one hits "Do Ya" and "I'll Always Come Back".
Oslin guested as a duet vocalist on Alabama's number 1 hit "Face to Face", although she did not receive chart credit for it. "This Woman," her second RCA album, yielded five singles: "Money" at number 13, "Hold Me" at number 1, "Hey Bobby" at number 2, the title track at number 5 and "Didn't Expect It to Go Down This Way" at number 23. "Hold Me" won Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Song of the Year.
Oslin's third album, "Love in a Small Town," came out in 1990. The single, "Come Next Monday," became Oslin's biggest hit, spending two weeks at number 1. "Mary and Willie" followed, becoming her last Top 40 hit. Oslin soon retired from touring.
"Greatest Hits: Songs from an Aging Sex Bomb" was released in in 1993. She switched back to acting, making appearances in the 1993 TV movie "Murder So Sweet" and the film "The Thing Called Love."
Oslin flipped again, going back to music In 1996, she signed with BNA Records and recorded "My Roots Are Showing...," which included the single "Silver Tongue and Goldplated Lies." Five years later, she released a second and final album for BNA, "Live Close By, Visit Often," which she co-produced with The Mavericks' lead singer, Raul Malo.
On Nov. 30, 2014, she performed live at the Grand Ole Opry, her first time on stage at the Ryman Auditorium. (She had played the Opry, but not at the Ryman).
On June 2, 2015, Oslin released her sixth studio album, "Simply."
In 2015, Oslin was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and went into assisted living the following year.