Gene Watson's Peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as 'the singer's singer' - and rightly so!
All of Gene Watson's Peers, who were contacted by The Gene Watson Fan Site, during 2005, were most gracious with their time and words.
It is here, within this special part of The Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Jeannie Seely, which she submitted to this site on Thursday 5 May 2005.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Jeannie Seely who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Thursday 5 May 2005.
'As I have said many times when I have had the honour of introducing Gene on stage at The Grand Ole Opry, he truly is a singer's singer!
Not only does he have one of the most unique, true voices in our business, he delivers the song with so much emotion that you feel exactly what the songwriter was trying to tell you, and you can understand every word.
Other than that, I don't like him much!
I'm also proud to call him my friend'.
Thank you, Jeannie Seely, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Jeannie Seely...
Jeannie Seely, on the night of Saturday 16 September 1967, marked an important milestone in her music career by joining the world-famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The distinctive-voiced lady, referred to as 'Miss Country Soul', became the first and, to date, the only Pennsylvania native to become an Opry member.
Jeannie Seely is among a select group of country artists who have scored No.1 hits as a solo artist, as a duet partner, and as a songwriter.
Born on Saturday 6 July 1940, in Titusville, Pennsylvania, the town where the world's very first oil well was drilled in 1859, Jeannie Seely grew up as the youngest of Leo and Irene Seely's four children. The family's two-story farmhouse still stands along a dirt road outside of nearby Townville, a community of about three hundred folks located in the north-western corner of the state.
Jeannie Seely's interest in music was influenced strongly by her parents; Leo Seely worked hard on the family's farm and at a Titusville steel mill, but found time on weekends to play the banjo and call local square dances, while Irene Seely would sing with her daughter every Saturday morning while the two baked bread together.
When she was barely tall enough to reach the dial on her family's big Philco console radio, Jeannie Seely was tuning in 'Grand Ole Opry' broadcasts on radio station WSM 650AM.
When she was eleven years old, Jeannie Seely began singing for a Saturday morning radio show on Meadville radio station WMGW and, by the time she was sixteen, she was performing on television station WICU in Erie.
At Hillbilly Park, Jeannie Seely had the opportunity to see performers like Bill Monroe (Wednesday 13 September 1911 - Monday 9 September 1996) and Ralph Stanley, as well as Josh Graves (Tuesday 27 September 1927 - Saturday 30 September 2006) who played on her 'Life’s Highway' (OMS Records, 2003) album.
Jeannie Seely also obtained autographed photos of stars like Jean Shepard, Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 - Friday 2 January 2015), and Wilma Lee Copper (Monday 7 February 1921 - Tuesday 13 September 2011) & Stoney Cooper (Wednesday 16 October 1918 - Tuesday 22 March 1977).
A cheerleader, majorette and honour student while attending Townville High School, Jeannie Seely sang at local amateur contests and began performing at weekend dances throughout north-western Pennsylvania.
Following high school graduation in 1958, Jeannie Seely worked for three years at a Titusville bank. Initially hired as a stenographer, she was later promoted to a secretarial position for the bank's auditor.
During this period, Jeannie Seely continued her education by completing night classes (in subjects like business finance and law) that were conducted by the American Institute of Banking in Oil City. Both the local and national American Institute of Banking organisations have since made Jeannie an honorary lifetime member for her efforts in promoting the name and spirit of the organisation.
At the age of twenty-one, Jeannie Seely packed everything she could into her car, shipped the rest to 'General Delivery, Los Angeles' and headed west. Jeannie Seely initially took a job at a Beverly Hills bank, but left it after a year to take a secretarial position for half the money at Liberty & Imperial Records in Hollywood.
With a foot in the door of the music business, Jeannie Seely began writing songs for Four Star Music and became a regular act, along with a then unknown Glen Campbell, on the 'Hollywood Jamboree' television series.
Rhythm & Blues artist Irma Thomas recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (will understand)'; the track reached No.52 on the Billboard pop music singles chart in 1964, and was subsequently included on 'Take a Look' (Imperial Records, 1966).
Jeannie Seely's song-writing led to her own recording contract on Challenge Records. A couple of regional hits and a West Coast tour resulted, but unfortunately Jeannie Seely received no national attention.
A young songwriter visiting California named Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010) was impressed with Jeannie Seely's talent and suggested she move to Nashville. Jeannie Seely, however, didn't think she was ready.
Upon the encouragement of Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) who recorded one of her songs, Jeannie Seely finally took Hank Cochran's advice and moved to Nashville in the fall of 1965.
Within a month, Porter Wagoner (Friday 12 August 1927 - Sunday 28 October 2007) hired her to replace Pretty Miss Norma Jean as the female singer for his road show and syndicated television series.
Connie Smith recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Senses' (co-written with Glen Campbell) and included the track on 'Connie Smith' (RCA Records, 1965).
On Monday 27 March 2006, England's Hux Records released Connie Smith's 'Connie Smith' (RCA Victor Records, 1965), along with 'Cute 'n' Country' (RCA Victor Records, 1965), as a special 2-for-1 CD set (HUX 076).
Initially turned down by every record label in town, Jeannie Seely finally got the big break she needed when a recording contract was offered by Monument Records.
On Saturday 12 March 1966, Jeannie Seely went into a recording studio and recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me'.
Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' was included on Jeannie Seely's 'The Seely Style' (Monument Records, 1966).
Within only a few weeks, Jeannie Seely's recording of Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' debuted on the Billboard country music singles chart where it stayed for over five months.
Although it held at No.2 for three weeks on the Billboard country music singles chart, the record actually reached No.1 on all the other major charts, including Cashbox and Record World; it was also a crossover hit on the Billboard pop music singles chart.
Today, Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' is considered a standard in country music. Jeannie Seely's recording of the song is ranked at No.97 in the book 'Heartaches by The Number: Country Music's 500 Greatest Singles', which was written by David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren. The book, which was released in 2003, was published by Vanderbilt University Press and Country Music Foundation Press.
Hank Cochran's 'Don’t Touch Me' is also included in 'The Stories Behind Country Music's All-Time Greatest 100 Songs', which was written by Ace Collins and published by Boulevard Books. The author wrote, 'Hank Cochran’s 'Don’t Touch Me' has stood the test of time like few other works. Hauntingly beautiful, poetry set to meter, this composition merits particular praise for the exquisite manner in which it relates its story of love, doubt and commitment'.
The book describes how Buck Owens (Monday 12 August 1929 - Saturday 25 March 2006) desperately wanted the song that Jeannie Seely ultimately recorded and made a hit.
Country music versions of Hank Cochran's 'Don’t Touch Me' have been recorded by a number of artists, including the following (none of these tracks were charted singles):
Don Gibson (Tuesday 3 April 1928 - Monday 17 November 2003)
Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 - Monday 6 April 1998)
George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013)
Ray Price (Tuesday 12 January 1926 - Monday 16 December 2013)
Lynn Anderson (Friday 26 September 1947 - Thursday 30 July 2015)
Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 - Thursday 8 May 2008)
Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991)
Don Gibson (Tuesday 3 April 1928 - Monday 17 November 2003) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Great Country Songs' (RCA Records, 1966).
Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 - Thursday 8 May 2008) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'The Last Word in Lonesome' (RCA Records, 1966).
Ray Price (Tuesday 12 January 1926 - Monday 16 December 2013) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Another Bridge to Burn' (Columbia Records, 1966).
Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'With All My Heart & Soul' (RCA Records, 1967).
Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 - Monday 6 April 1998) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad' (Epic Records, 1967).
Lynn Anderson (Friday 26 September 1947 - Thursday 30 July 2015) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'Songs That Made Country Girls Famous' (Chart Records, 1969).
Roy Clark recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'The Incredible Roy Clark' (Dot Records, 1971).
Lorrie Morgan recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'War Paint' (BNA Records, 1994).
George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013) recorded Hank Cochran's 'Don't Touch Me' and included the track on 'It Don't Get Any Better Than This' (MCA Records, 1998).
In June 1966, Jeannie Seely was invited to make her first guest appearance on The Grand Ole Opry.
It was also in 1966 when Jeannie Seely received 'Most Promising New Artist' Awards from all the national trade publications, including Billboard, Cashbox and Record World, as well as from polls of country music fans and radio presenters across the United States.
On Thursday 2 March 1967, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences honoured Jeannie Seely with the 1966 Grammy Award for 'Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female'.
Edging out friends and fellow nominees Loretta Lynn ('Don’t Come Home a Drinkin'), Dottie West ('Would You Hold it Against Me'), Connie Smith ('Ain’t Had No Loving') and Jan Howard ('Evil on Your Mind'), Jeannie Seely became only the third female country music artist to receive the coveted Grammy Award. Jeannie Seely accepted her award from Chet Atkins (Friday 20 June 1924 - Saturday 30 June 2001).
With a successful breakthrough hit, Jeannie Seely found herself travelling from coast to coast for concert appearances. The new demands forced her to leave Porter Wagoner's show - today Jeannie Seely jokes that she was replaced by Dolly Parton because Dolly's 'hits' were bigger.
New opportunities for Jeannie Seely included many concert and television appearances with the legendary Ernest Tubb (Monday 9 February 1914 - Thursday 6 September 1984).
In March 1967, Jeannie Seely saw the release of 'Thanks Hank' (Monument Records, 1967), an album which included her rendition of Hank Cochran's 'Don't You Ever Get Tired (of hurting me)'; Gene Watson recorded 'Don't You Ever Get Tired (of hurting me)' and included the track on 'In a Perfect World' (Shanachie Records, 2007).
In September 1967, Jeannie Seely fulfilled her lifelong dream by joining The Grand Ole Opry. Known throughout her career as an individualist, as well as for her infectious humour, Jeannie Seely is widely recognised for changing the image of female country performers; she is also credited with being the first woman to wear a mini-skirt on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry.
When at home, Jeannie Seely made frequent guest appearances on television shows, including 'Hee Haw' and 'That Nashville Music'.
On Sunday 22 March 1970, Jeannie Seely was a featured guest on 'Glen Campbell's Goodtime Hour'.
Working with distinguished producers, including Fred Foster and Owen Bradley (Thursday 21 October 1915 - Wednesday 7 January 1998), Jeannie Seely recorded more than a dozen albums and over two dozen singles for Monument Records, Decca Records, MCA Records and Columbia Records.
Jeannie Seely placed singles on the Billboard country music singles chart for thirteen consecutive years, between 1966 and 1978.
Among Jeannie Seely's over two dozen Billboard country music hit singles were 'It's Only Love' (No.15, 1966), 'A Wanderin' Man' (No.13, 1966), 'I'll Love You More' (No.10, 1967), 'He Can Be Mine' (No.26, 1974) and 'Welcome Home to Nothing' (No.24, 1968).
'Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You', a duet with fellow Grand Ole Opry member Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013), reached No.2 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1969 and launched one of the most successful duos and road shows in country music history.
Nominated for numerous Country Music Association (CMA) and Grammy awards, Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013) & Jeannie Seely toured together for over ten years, performing everywhere from New York's Madison Square Garden to London's Wembley Arena.
In 1973, Jeannie Seely transformed the hobo lament 'Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister?' into a Billboard Top 10 country music hit single 'Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Mister?', which reached No.6.
In 1974, Jeannie Seely adapted the Appalachian ballad 'Come All You Fair & Tender Ladies' into another Billboard country music singles chart hit single titled 'Lucky Ladies', which was written by Walter Haynes (Friday 14 December 1928 - Thursday 1 January 2009); the track reached No.11.
Jeannie Seely's compositions have been recorded by a wide variety of country music artists, including the following:
Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991)
Pretty Miss Norma Jean
Tex Williams (Thursday 23 August 1917 - Friday 11 October 1985)
Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013)
Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Another Heart for You to Break', which was co-written with Carl Belew (Tuesday 21 April 1931 - Wednesday 31 October 1990) and Clyde Pitts Junior (1939 - Saturday 26 March 2011), and included the track on 'Suffer Time' (RCA Records, 1966).
Ray Price (Tuesday 12 January 1926 - Monday 16 December 2013) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Enough to Lie' and included the track on 'Touch My Heart' (Columbia Records, 1967).
Johnny Carver recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Senses' (co-written with Glen Campbell) and included the track on 'You're in Good Hands' (Imperial Records, 1968).
Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Leavin' & Sayin' Goodbye' and included the track on 'Greene Country' (Decca Records, 1971).
Faron Young (Thursday 25 February 1932 - Tuesday 10 December 1996) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Leavin' & Sayin' Goodbye' and included the track on 'Leavin' & Sayin' Goodbye' (Mercury Records, 1971); the track reached No.9 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1971 and earned Jeannie Seely a BMI Songwriter Award.
Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 - Thursday 15 March 2013) & Jeannie Seely recorded Jeannie Seely's 'It Doesn't Seem to Matter' and included the track on 'Two For The Show' (Decca Records, 1972).
Hank Williams Junior recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Name Dropper' (co-written with Glenn Martin) and included the track on 'After You, Pride's Not Hard to Swallow' (MGM Records, 1973).
Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'My Love For You' and included the track on 'Ramblin' Fever' (MCA Records, 1977).
Ernest Tubb (Monday 9 February 1914 - Thursday 6 September 1984) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Sometimes I Do' and included the track on 'The Living Legend' (First Generation Records, 1977).
Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Life of a Rodeo Cowboy', which was co-written with Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010), and included the track on 'I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall' (MCA Records, 1978).
Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 - Friday 2 January 2015) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'She Always Got What She Wanted' and included the track on 'Country Music Hall of Fame' (King Records, 1982).
Between 1969 and 1979, Jeannie Seely was married to Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010), the accclaimed country music songwriter of such songs as 'Make The World Go Away', 'She’s Got You', 'I Fall to Pieces', 'The Chair' and 'Ocean Front Property'.
The marriage, which was the first for Jeannie Seely, but the fourth for Hank Cochran, ended in divorce.
In 1977, Jeannie Seely's career almost ended abruptly when she was involved in a near fatal automobile accident which left her with serious multiple injuries. It was with the help and support of best friend Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 - Wednesday 4 September 1991) that Jeannie Seely was able to recover and get back on her feet.
Ironically, Dottie West's death, on Wednesday 4 September 1991, was due to injuries she suffered in an automobile accident while traveling to The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Chris LeDoux (Saturday 2 October 1948 - Wednesday 9 March 2005) recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Life of a Rodeo Cowboy', which was co-written with Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010) and included the track on 'Old Cowboy Heroes' (ACS Records, 1981).
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver recorded Jeannie Seely's 'Senses' (co-written with Glen Campbell) and included the track on 'Never Walk Away' (Sugar Hill Records, 1995).
In 1995, Jeannie Seely served as a consultant for 'Big Dreams & Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story', a CBS television movie about Dottie West's life; Jeannie Seely was portrayed in the movie by actress Cathy Worthington.
In the early 1980s, Jeannie Seely performed as the opening act for friend Willie Nelson's concert dates across the United States.
Jeannie Seely also appeared in Willie Nelson's successful 'Honeysuckle Rose' movie and sang on the soundtrack recording, a contribution which earned her a platinum album.
Jeannie Seely became the first female artist to regularly host half-hour segments of The Grand Ole Opry. Those hosting duties actually began in 1985 when she was called upon as a last minute replacement for Del Reeves (Thursday 14 July 1932 - Monday 1 January 2007), the scheduled host, who was caught in a rare Nashville snowstorm.
Lorrie Morgan recorded Jeannie Seely's 'I've Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand' (co-written with Bill Anderson) and included the track on 'Shakin' Things Up' (OMS Records, 1997).
Lorrie Morgan has credited Jeannie Seely as being a major influence in her career and has often referred to The Grand Ole Opry cohort as her 'second mum'.
In 2000, Jeannie Seely was inducted into The North American Country Music Hall of Fame.
In 2003, Jeannie Seely was honoured with induction into The George D. Hay Music Hall of Fame, located in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas.
It was also in 2003 when Jeannie Seely received the '2003 Legend Award' from Bluebird Country News.
In the fall of 2003, Jeannie Seely saw the release of her own acoustic and bluegrass project, 'Life’s Highway' (OMS Records, 2003); the album featured musicians Josh Graves (Tuesday 27 September 1927 - Saturday 30 September 2006), Glen Duncan, Steve Wariner, Jesse McReynolds and Buck White, along with harmony vocals from Charlie Louvin (Thursday 7 July 1927 - Wednesday 26 January 2011), The Osborne Brothers and The Whites.
• Visit Jeannie Seely's Official Site at jeannieseely.com