What Happened To These Iconic Musicians?

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These singers burst onto the music scene, and were the icons of their time. Where did they ended up?

Kate Bush – Then

At 19-years-old, Kate Bush stood atop the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single “Wuthering Heights” in 1978. Immediately, critics were impressed. Kate’s talent got her nominated for three Grammy Awards, and in 2002, she won Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

Kate Bush – Now

In 2013, Bush was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honors for services to music. Her music has also been admired by artists including Annie Lennox, Tupac Shakur and Stevie Nicks, among others, with many admiring her vulnerable songs. 35 years after her first tour, Bush announced that she would perform 22 live shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. In October 2017, she was nominated for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

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Stevie Nicks – Then

When Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, everyone knew that she was destined for stardom. The band achieved international success before Stevie decided to go it alone. In 1981, Stevie released her first solo album, Bella Donna which received number one spot making Nicks a global superstar.

Stevie Nicks – Now

As a solo artist and with Fleetwood Mac, Nicks produced over 40 top-50 hits and sold over 140 million records worldwide, making her one of the best selling artists of all time and winning a number of notable awards. Aside from music, Nicks started a charity foundation titled “Stevie Nicks’ Band of Soldiers,” which helped injured military personnel. In her personal life, she married and divorced from Kim Anderson. Today, Nicks continues to tour worldwide, at 69, reigning supreme as the Queen of Rock and Roll.

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Gloria Estefan – Then

Estefan started out in the band Miami Latin Boys which was eventually known as Miami Sound Machine, prior to having breakthrough success with “Conga” in 1985, which became her signature song. The band released 10 albums, some of which went triple platinum before Estefan became a solo artist in 1989. Following this, Gloria topped the charts with 12 studio albums, making her one of the bestselling female artists. Estefan didn’t leave her Miami Sound Machine roots behind as she married band leader Emilio Estefan, in 1976.

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Gloria Estefan – Now

Estefan has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, including 31.5 million in the United States alone. Gloria was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2015, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to American music and in 2017, she received the Kennedy Center Honors for her contributions to American Culture Life. Aside from music, Estefan has appeared in several films, had a stint on broadway and owned businesses, making her net worth between $500-$700 million.

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Alanis Morissette – Then

Morissette began her career in Canada in the early 90s with two pop albums before being recognized by manager Scott Welch who commended her “spectacular voice,” and impressive lyrics. However, Alanis’ big break came when she released “You Oughta Know” in 1995, followed by single “Ironic”, which became Morissette’s biggest hit. As a result, at the 1996 Grammy Awards, she won Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song (both for “You Oughta Know”), Best Rock Album and Album of the Year.

Alanis Morissette – Now

Alanis was one of the biggest female artists in the 90s, selling millions of records worldwide. However, she also ventured into acting in the late 90s and 00s and most recently, in 2014, Morissette played the role of Marisa Damia in the film The Price of Desire. In her personal life, Alanis was engaged to actor Ryan Reynolds between 2004 until 2007 before the singer went on to marry rapper Mario “Souleye” Treadway in 2010. Today, Alanis has advice column in The Guardian newspaper and focuses on her two children.

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Olivia Newton-John – Then

In 1971, Olivia Newton-John released her first album, If Not For You, and the title track instantly became her first international hit. In 1974, Olivia represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Long Live Love,” which went on to be changed for US release in the country category. 1978 gave Newton-John her greatest role as Sandy in musical Grease, earning her an Academy Award nomination. In 1981, she released her most successful studio album, Physical, which went double platinum.

Olivia Newton-John-Now

In 2008, Newton-John’s single Physical was announced as the biggest song of the decade. Today, Olivia continues to tour worldwide and perform her songs for adoring fans. However, she was due to take up a residency in 2013 at Flamingo Las Vegas, but it was postponed due to her older sister’s death, but the residency resumed in April 2014. In 2017, it was announced that Grease would have a 40-year reunion with the original cast, but that same year, Olivia’s health had taken a turn and her breast cancer had grown.

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Crystal Gayle – Then

Crystal Gayle is best known for her 1977 country-pop crossover song, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” From this, Crystal went on to have twenty #1 country songs during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1977, Crystal’s album We Must Believe in Magic allowed her to become the first female artist in country music history to reach platinum status. However, the 90s was more difficult for Gayle and her two albums Ain’t Gonna Worry and Three Good Reasons failed to chart as country music had abandoned older artists.

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Crystal Gayle – Now

Gayle was considered one of country music’s greats and in 2008, she was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. The following year, Gayle received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2016, Gayle received the Cliffie Stone pioneer award from the Academy of Country Music and that same year, she was asked to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Carrie Underwood, 50 years after making her debut. Today, Gayle is currently working on a new album after a 13 year break.

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Grace Jones – Then

In 1977, Jones scored a record deal as a star of New York City’s Studio 54-centered disco scene after being recognized as an international supermodel. However, in the 1980s, she shifted towards a new wave style which allowed her albums Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing, and Slave to the Rhythm, to see mass success. Her alternative style resulted in the BBC asserting that she “delved into the worlds of disco, reggae and funk much more successfully than most of her ‘alternative’ contemporaries.”

Grace Jones – Now

However, after a number of failed comebacks during the 90s, Jones’ next album wasn’t released until almost 20 years later after she promised to “never to do an album again.” The album was finally released in 2008, but didn’t earn nearly as much as her albums during her prime in the 80s. Since then, Grace embarked on a number of different projects including a charity initiative, raising $1.3 million for amfAR in 2012, followed by writing a memoir in 2015. In 2017, Jones collaborated with the Gorillaz on their fifth studio album.

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Donna Summer – Then

Donna Summer became an instant star in 1975 by total chance after she recorded a demo which was a hit with producers. Her single “Love to Love You Baby” stormed the charts and paved the way for a hugely successful career. Her debut album I Remember Yesterday was released in 1976 which saw critical acclaim. However, Summer’s career took a hit by the mid-1980s when she allegedly made anti-gay remarks, leading many to return her records. Nevertheless, her music gave her the label “Queen of Disco.”

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Donna Summer – Now

Throughout her impressive career, Summer sold an unprecedented 140 million records worldwide with 32 hit singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Summer had two daughters with her husband, Brooklyn Dreams singer Bruce Sudano, and in 1995, they moved to Tennessee so that Donna could take a hiatus from music and focus on her hobby of painting. Sadly, Summer died in 2012, at age 62, after a battle with lung cancer, leading notable artists including Barbra Streisand and Dolly Parton, amongst others, paying tribute to the late singer.

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Melissa Etheridge – Then

After completing her first, self-titled album in just a few days, Melissa Etheridge saw underground success with it, and her single “Bring Me Some Water” was nominated for a Grammy in 1988. However, it wasn’t until 1993 that Etheridge got her mainstream breakthrough, with her album “Yes I Am” which went six times platinum and spent 138 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts. Melissa went on to dominate the charts throughout the 90s, winning a number of awards and being commended for her songwriting.

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Melissa Etheridge – Now

The 2000s allowed Melissa to be who she wanted to be and she went public with her relationship with actress Tammy Lynn Michaels. However, things took a turn and Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, but didn’t let it slow her down and continued to perform throughout her treatment. Between 2014-2015, Melissa was recording new music and releasing singles, all the while touring the United States. Nevertheless, in 2016 Melissa seemed to change career paths and she began working part-time at Andrean High School in Merrillville, IN.

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Missy Elliott – Then

Rapper Missy Elliot started her career in the early 90s with group Sista, before going solo in 1997, with debut album Supa Dupa Fly. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, making it the highest-charting debut for a female rapper at the time. Her second album, released in 1999, saw just as much success as the first, making Missy a household name. Elliot also turned to producing and collaborated with notable artists including Whitney Houston on her 1998 album My Love Is Your Love. 

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Missy Elliot – Now

Elliott went on to win four Grammy Awards and sell over 30 million records in the United States, making her the best-selling female rap artist in Nielsen Music history. In 2015, Missy performed alongside Katy Perry in the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show , which boosted sales of her songs in the weeks following. In fact, it became the most watched halftime show in NFL history, receiving 118.5 million viewers in the United States. Through her own music and producing others, Missy has accumulated a net worth of around $50 million.

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Cher – Then

Cher gained stardom in 1965 as part of the folk rock husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher. Their song “I Got You Babe” took the number one spot and by 1967, they had sold 40 million records worldwide. At the same time, Cher launched her solo career and in 1966 she released her first hit song  “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).” Cher’s second album allowed her to change direction to pop in her music and she saw mass success with hits including “Believe” in 1999.

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Cher – Now

Over her six-decade long career, Cher sold over 100 million records worldwide and became one of the best-selling music artists in history, not to mention winning an Academy Award. In 2008, she signed a $180 million deal to headline the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for three years. In addition, Cher returned to movies in 2010 in Burlesque, also recording singles for the soundtrack. In 2017, Cher began performing 30 shows at the Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino and The Theater at MGM National Harbor. Cher has been described as an “icon.”

Cyndi Lauper – Then

In 1983, Cyndi Lauper released her first solo album, having been performing with Blue Angel prior to this. The album, She’s So Unusual, became an instant hit worldwide and peaked at number four on the charts. For her singles including  “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” Lauper won Best New Artist at the 1985 Grammy Awards. Her next couple albums were met with the same response but her fourth album in 1993, tackled controversial topics, leading to dismal numbers.

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Cyndi Lauper – Now

Lauper’s success led her to be considered a pop icon and she went on to sell over 50 million records and 20 million singles. She was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and her debut album was hailed by Rolling Stone one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Recently, Lauper took part in a number of charity initiatives and became an activist for LGBT and human rights in the U.S, resulting in her being invited to President Obama’s second inauguration.

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Dolly Parton – Then

Dolly Parton’s career took off in 1967, and by the early 70s, she had already secured her first number one country hit with “Joshua.” This was directly followed by other top spot hits including “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You,” leading Dolly to win the Country Music Association award for female vocalist in 1975 and 1976. Parton took the mainstream charts by storm in the 80s with “9 to 5,” earning her an Academy Award nomination as well as taking on a role in the critically acclaimed film.

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Dolly Parton – Now

Spanning over her five-decade long career, Parton has sold an incredible 100 million records, making her one of the all-time greats. In addition, Parton has received 46 Grammy Award nominations, tying her with Bruce Springsteen for the most nominations in history. In 2012, Parton published her book Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You, documenting her unprecedented success. Parton was honored with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for excellence in the arts in 2005. Parton’s net worth is estimated at $500 million.

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Barbra Streisand-Then

In the early 60s, Streisand was dubbed the “exciting new singer” and from then, she went on to record her debut album The Barbra Streisand Album in early 1963. The album made the top 10 on the Billboard chart and won three Grammy Awards, making Barbra the best-selling female vocalist in America. During this time, Barbra went in and out of broadway and recording, before transitioning into movies in 1968 when she won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in film Funny Girl.

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Barbra Streisand-Now

Barbra’s success was unprecedented and she went on to become one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, selling more than 68.5 million albums in the U.S. with 150 million albums and singles sold worldwide. In 2011, Streisand was honored as MusiCares Person of the Year by the Grammy Foundation for her artistic achievement in the music industry and she has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame four times. In 2017, it was announced that Barbra was due to star and produce the film adaptation of the musical Gypsy.

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Pat Benatar-Then

Benatar released her debut album In the Heat of the Night in August 1979 however, she didn’t get a big hit until August 1980 when she released her EP Crimes of Passion, which featured her signature song and her first number one single “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” From then, Benatar saw huge success in the 80s, earned a number of Grammy awards and by the 1988, she had released seven studio albums, all earning gold and platinum certifications.

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Pat Benatar-Now

However, since her 1997 album Innamorata, Pat only released one more album in 2003, titled Go , which didn’t see as much success as her records in the 80s and 90s. In June 2010, Benatar released a memoir, titled Between a Heart and a Rock Place which documented her struggles with her record company and spoke of her passion as a feminist. Recently, in 2017, Benatar recorded the song “Shine” to support the Women’s March on January 21, her first non-holiday themed record in a decade.

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Chaka Khan-Then

Khan got her start in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus, before going solo in 1978. Her debut solo album featured the crossover disco hit, “I’m Every Woman” which enabled the album to go platinum and becoming one of Khan’s best selling songs. In 1984, Khan became the first R&B artist to have a crossover hit featuring a rapper, with the song “I Feel for You.” The single managed to relaunch Khan’s career and make her a best selling artist.

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Chaka Khan-Now

Khan’s musical success led her to be named the “Queen of Funk,” having won ten Grammy’s and sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide. In 2011, Khan was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and that same year, it was announced that Khan and former band Rufus would be jointly nominated for an induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. In 2015, Khan ventured out of music and joined the cast of Dancing With The Stars, but in 2016, she canceled live performances and entered rehab.

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Geri Horner-Then

Geri Horner, formerly known as Halliwell, was best known as Ginger Spice in the Spice Girls. In 1995, Horner and the Spice Girls were given a record deal and the following year, they released their song “Wannabe,” which reached number one in 37 countries and became he biggest-selling single by an all-female group of all time. The Spice Girls world domination continued until 1998 when Geri announced she was leaving the group due to differences in the band. Geri then embarked on a solo career between 1999 and 2004.

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Geri Horner-Now

The Spice Girls sold 85 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful girl bands of all time. In 2007, all of the Spice Girls reunited for a reunion tour and were said to have earned $15 million each from it. After multiple delays, in 2016 Horner announced she is working on new material for her fourth studio album, and in 2018, the Spice Girls confirmed their second reunion with a tour set for the UK and U.S. Geri married Formula One RedBull Team Principal, Christian Horner in 2015.

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Tina Turner – Then

Tina Turner embarked upon her journey in the late 50s, gaining traction as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue duo. Following the success of the group with hits like “Proud Mary” and “A Fool In Love”, Turner hit a rough patch when she revealed that Ike was domestically abusing her. Their split was finalized in 1978, and once the divorce went through, Turner made a major comeback as a solo artist.

Tina Turner – Now

Turner’s solo success spans across several decades, and her multi-platinum albums with singles like “The Best” and “I Don’t Wanna Fight” earned her four Grammy Awards. Turner is often credited as The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and her energy and stage presence is still admired to this day. Most recently, Turner announced that she has been working on “Tina” – a musical based on her life story. Furthermore, Turner’s second autobiography – “Tina Turner: My Love Story” – is to be released in the fall of 2018.

Joni Mitchell – Then

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Joni Mitchell is “one of the greatest songwriters of all time”. Mitchell effortlessly conveyed her feelings and world views through music for four decades, which earned her 9 Grammy Awards. In the 70s, Mitchell began her work with a number of jazz musicians, including Pat Metheny and Wayne Shorter. This transition boosted her career and earned her mainstream success, and despite her rocky road she was still voted “Top Female Performer” by English music newspaper Melody Maker in 1970.

Joni Mitchell – Now

In 2009, Mitchell confirmed that she is suffering from Morgellons syndrome, a skin condition that is also referred to as “delusional infestation”. However, in 2010, during an interview with Los Angeles Times,  Mitchell stated that despite the disease her health better than it has been in a long time. Most recently, the songstress suffered from a brain aneurysm, which affected her speech. In July 2015, Mitchell’s representative confirmed that she was undergoing rehabilitation but not walking just yet.

Annie Lennox – Then

Annie Lennox started to rise to fame in the 70s as a part of “The Tourists”, but reached major mainstream success as a member of “Eurythmics” in the 80s. Having accumulated a significant number of awards, including “Best British Female Artist” six times, Lennox was named “The Greatest White Soul Singer Alive” by VH1. In 1992, Lennox embarked upon a solo career, which brought her major success for decades to come.

Annie Lennox – Now

Aside from her career in music, Lennox is a major political activist, known for raising money for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Lennox “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” for her “tireless charity campaigns and championing of humanitarian causes”. In 2015, it was announced that Lennox will be made a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. This made her the first female artist to receive the honor.

Marie Osmond – Then

As the only girl in the Osmond’s, Marie wasn’t a part of their group, but in 1973, she released her own single as a solo artist, titled “Paper Roses.” The Anita Bryant cover became an instant hit and landed a spot at number five on the Billboard chart. In 1974, Marie teamed up with Donny to release singles “I’m Leaving It All Up to You” and “Morning Side of the Mountain.” In 1976, the brother-sister duo appeared on TV show Donny & Marie, until 1978 before it was renamed The Osmond Family Hour.

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Marie Osmond – Now

As a child star, Marie later admitted she struggled with eating disorders and went down a dark path before seeking help. In her personal life, Marie was married three times, to two different men. Since 2008, the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada has been home to variety show Donny & Marie, which has been hailed by the Las Vegas awards as “Best Show.” Donny and Marie also continue to tour around the United States. Outside of music, Marie took part in Dancing With The Stars, among other projects.

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Belinda Carlisle – Then

Belinda Carlisle co-founded The Go-Go’s with friends and fellow musicians Margot Olavarria, Elissa Bello, and Jane Wiedlin in 1978. The new wave band topped the charts with release Beauty and the Beat in 1981, encouraging the popularization of new wave in the United States. Between 1978 until 1985, The Go-Go’s sold 7 million records worldwide before Carlisle went solo. Carlisle’s first album was released in 1986 and saw great success, leading her to release eight albums in total, with hits including “Leave a Light On” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.”

Belinda Carlisle – Now

Between 2011 and 2012, Carlisle embarked on a United States tour with The Go-Go’s, before proceeding to release her first single in 17 years in 2013. In 2015, Carlisle confirmed that she was recording a new album which was set for release in 2016 and was inspired by Kundalini yoga, which she had taken u while pregnant in 1991. In 2017, Belinda released her eighth studio album. Carlisle later admitted she had a substance and alcohol addiction which spanned over 30 years, before finally getting sober in 2005.

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Debbie Harry – Then

As the lead singer of new wave band Blondie, Debbie Harry quickly became a punk icon and her bleach blonde hair inspired the name of the successful band. Between 1976 until 1981, Blondie stormed the charts around the world, earning several number one’s and selling millions of albums. In 1981, Harry took a year-long hiatus to work on her own music, before reforming Blondie in the late 1990s, and she is considered the first rapper to chart at number one in the U.S.

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Debbie Harry – Now

Throughout her career, Harry appeared in over 60 movies as well as a number of roles in television, making her an all-rounded star. For her musical talents, Harry appeared in VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll list at number 12. Today, Harry is focused on philanthropic work, fighting cancer and endometriosis, making it her top priority. She said of her commitment,”These things are important to my life now. I have the privilege of being able to get involved, so I do.”

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Sinéad O’Connor – Then

Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor rose to fame in the 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra, before seeing international success in the 1990s through an arrangement of Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Despite her music being successful, it was somewhat overshadowed by her controversial nature and was condemned after announcing that she would not perform at her concerts if the United States National Anthem was played before and after receiving four Grammy Award nominations, she withdrew her name from consideration.

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Sinéad O’Connor – Now

In 2014, it was revealed that O’Connor has been working on a new album of romantic love songs, titled The Vishnu Room. It was later announced that the album title had been changed to I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss, and had an August release date. Despite Sinead being married four times to men, she announced in 2000 that she was a lesbian. In 2017, Sinead changed her legal name to Magda Davitt, adding that she wished to be “free of parental curses.”

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Barbara Mandrell – Then

After launching her career in 1970, Barbara Mandrell was admired for her country music, but her big break came with “The Midnight Oil.” Throughout the 70s and 80s, Barbara followed up her success with a number of hits on the country charts, leading her to win “Entertainer of the Year” award from the Country Music Association in 1980 and 1981, becoming the first ever woman to do so.

Barbara Mandrell – Now

At the peak of her fame in 1984, Barbara suffered a huge setback when she was involved in a serious car accident, resulting in her having bad injuries, including several broken bones, concussion and temporary memory loss. The accident was life-changing for the country singer and she was unable to work for a long time. As a result, she retired in November 1997, 13 years after the crash, and dedicated spending her time with her family. In 2009, Barbara was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Celine Dion – Then

Celine Dion gained international recognition in the 1980s after winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival, and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, in which she represented Switzerland. Following this, she released her debut album in 1990, Unison, making her a superstar. In addition, her albums Falling into You, and Let’s Talk About Love, both received platinum certificate in the United States. However, at the height of her success in 1999, Dion took a hiatus from music to spend time with her husband after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Celine Dion – Now

In 2002, Dion returned to music with a four-year residency in Las Vegas “A New Day…” which became the highest grossing residency of all time, grossing a whopping $385 million. In 2014 and 2016, she was forced to cancel a residency and tour to cope with her husband and brother’s untimely deaths. Since then, Celine returned to her residency and in 2018 it was announced she was recording for a new album. Dion has an incredible legacy, selling 200 million records worldwide and being recognized as one of the greatest artists.

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Shania Twain – Then

Twain’s self-titled debut album was released in 1993 but initially failed to sella significant amount of copies. However, it wasn’t until six years later that the album was certified platinum. Twain saw success with second album The Woman in Me, which included the country hit “Any Man of Mine,” followed by three number one singles. Through the release of Come On Over in 1997, Shania was established as a successful crossover artist, selling 40 million copies worldwide, making it the biggest-selling album of all time by a female musician.

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Shania Twain – Now

After years of speculation when Twain would release new music, she confirmed that her first single in six years would be released in 2011. In 2016, Twain told Rolling Stone that she had new music coming soon and in the summer of 2017, her album Now was released. Twain has sold over 100 million records, making her the best-selling female artist in country music history. Aside from music, Twain has appeared on TV shows including American Idol, Broad City, Dancing With The Stars, and her own show, Why Not? with Shania Twain.

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