Who is Barbara Mandrell?

Barbara Mandrell is a two-time Grammy Award-winning American country music artist, as well as an actress who is perhaps best known for her hit singles “Years”, “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” and “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” among plenty of others. Additionally, she is widely recognized for starring in the TV show “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters”.

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Early Life and Education

Barbara Ann Mandrell was born under the zodiac sign of Capricorn on the 25th December 1948, in Houston, Texas, as the eldest daughter of Mary Ellen (née McGill) and Irby Matthew Mandrell.

In addition to being a homemaker and a police officer respectively, both her parents were also accomplished musicians, so it is no wonder that Barbara decided to follow their footsteps and make a name for herself in the music industry. She has two younger sisters, Thelma Louise Mandrell, born in 1954, and Ellen Irlene Mandrell, born in 1956, who are both musicians as well.

She attended Oceanside High School in California.

Childhood and Early Career

By the age of six, Barbara had already learnt to play accordion, while during the following years she also became skilled in steel guitar playing as well as a pedal and lap steel guitars, banjo and saxophone.

She was discovered by the RCA Records’ producer Chet Atkins at the music trade convention in Chicago when she was 12. This discovery led her to regularly perform with Joe Maphis within the Las Vegas’ nightclub circle in the following years, and soon after she began touring with some big names, such as Johnny Cash, Red Folex, Tex Ritter, and Patsy Cline who described her as ‘a 13-year-old blonde doll who plays the steel guitar out of this world’.

Alongside her two sisters and Ken Dudney as a drummer, with their parents as their managers, Barbara founded the Mandrell Family Band and began touring the States. In 1969 she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she signed a record deal with Columbia Records and launched her solo career.

Barbara Mandrell

Music Career

In 1970 Mandrell released the hit single entitled “Playin’ Around With Love”, which was followed by several commercially successful duets featuring David Houston. She caught wider audience attention in 1973 as the first cheating woman singing about it in a song called “The Midnight Oil”. In 1975 she signed a record deal with the ABC Records and began collaborating with the Grammy-nominated music producer Tom Collins. She then released hit singles such as “Standing Room Only”, “Married But Not to Each Other” as well as her 1978 US Billboard’s No. 1 “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed”.

In 1979 her single “Years” also peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard chart, while in 1980 she released a commercially successful studio album entitled “Love is Fair”.

In 1983, Barbara was honored with the prestigious Grammy Award for her song “He Set My Life to Music”. After a collaboration album with Lee Greenwood entitled “Meant for Each Other” in 1984, Mandrell released a hit single featuring Bobby Jones called “I’m So Glad We’re Standing Here Today”, for which she earned her second Grammy Award. However, in September 1984, at the peak of her career, she in a severe car crash, and suffered a broken thigh, knee and ankle as well as a temporary memory loss. After a year-and-a-half-long therapy and rehabilitation process, she was back on track.

Through the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s, in spite of the overall decrease of interest in country-pop, Barbara continued to sing, perform and record new albums of which some of the most successful ones are certainly “Sure Feels Good” (1987) and “I’ll Be Your Jukebox Tonight” (1988). Some of her best ranked singles from the same period include “No One Mends a Broken Heart Like You” and “I Wish That I Could Fall in Love Today”.

Mandrell‘s more recent releases include the 2001 album “Ultimate Collection”, and the 2016 studio album entitled “This Time I Almost Made It: The Lost Columbia Masters”.

In her prosperous and abundant music career, Barbara has been honored with numerous prestigious awards, including nine People’s Choice Awards, the Academy of Country Music Triple Crown Award as well as four Academy of Country Music Awards, and four Academy of Country Association Awards. In 1980 she was the third woman ever to receive the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award, and in 1982 she repeated the same success, becoming the first artist ever to win this award twice. All these accolades have made Barbara Mandrell one of the most rewarded country musicians, topped in 2009 when she was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Acting Career

In addition to her music career, Barbara has quite a notable on-screen career.

Her debut occurred in 1979 when she made a cameo appearance in an episode of “The Rockford Files” TV series, while her real acting debut came soon after when she starred in the Primetime Emmy-nominated TV movie “Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol”. To greater prominence she came in the early 1980s when she starred in the two-time Golden Globe-nominated TV show “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters“.

In the late 1990s, she appeared in “Baywatch” TV series after which she was cast for the recurring role of Alex Mitchum in the TV romance drama series “Sunset Beach”. Mandrell’s latest on-screen appearances occurred in 2000 in the TV movie “Stolen from the Heart”, and in an episode of the TV series “Walker, Texas Ranger”.

Personal Life

Right upon completing her secondary education, in May 1967 Barbara married Ken Dudney, who at the time was the drummer of her Mandrell Family Band. Over the years, the couple welcomed three children – a daughter Jaime born in 1976, and sons Matthew and Nathaniel, born in 1970 and 1985 respectively.

Net Worth

According to authoritative sources, it is estimated that, as of mid-2020, the total of Barbara Mandrell’s net worth figures around an incredible sum of $45 million. It has been primarily acquired through her over-four-decade-long career in the music industry, abundant with top rated singles and accolades, as well as through her endeavors within the movie-making industry.


  1. JOHN MILLER Reply

    We miss Barbara and her sisters on TV. That was a good .NO>>>GREAT family show. To bad we all get older LOL

  2. I think Barbara Mandrell is the greatest entertainer in the world . I have all of her albums plus her variety show on DVDs . She is a very down to earth person. I texted her and asked her how I could get an autographed photo of her, and she texted back ” send me your physical address. I did and she sent me the most beautiful photo I have ever seen. She ‘s the best and I miss seeing her perform but I do hope she is enjoying her retirement she deserves the rest and to be able to live a normal life with Ken and her children or maybe even grandchildren if she has any. Take care Barbara , we love you.

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