Who Was the First Woman With a Number One Pop and Country Hit at Same Time?
Taylor Swift? Carrie Underwood? Faith Hill? Who would you guess was the first woman to have a number-one song on both the Billboard Pop and Billboard Country charts? Her name is Jeannie C. Riley, and on this date (September 21) in 1968, she was top of both charts with “Harper Valley PTA.”
It was her debut song, and during her career she never had a bigger song than her first one.
Written by Tom T. Hall, the song was about a southern widow’s battle with the local PTA after her daughter brought home a note criticizing her mom for wearing mini skirts and going out with men and other things they don’t like. She confronts the PTA and one by one points out the flaws they have and don’t realize.
It sold over five million copies and earned her both Grammy and CMA awards, but some years later she became a born-again Christian and turned to Gospel music. She disagreed with the message of the biggest song she ever had, let people know it. She tried not to include it in her concerts, but she had to.