Leona Williams

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Leona Williams
Birth name Leona Belle Helton
Born (1943-01-07) January 7, 1943 (age 71)
Origin Vienna, Missouri, U.S.
Genres Country
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals
Bass guitar
Years active 1958–present
Labels Hickory
Associated acts Merle Haggard

Leona Belle Helton (born January 7, 1943 in Vienna, Missouri) is an American country music singer known professionally as Leona Williams. Active since 1958, Williams has been a backing musician for Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard, to whom she was married between 1978 and 1983. She also charted eight times on Hot Country Songs, with her only Top 40 hit being a duet with Haggard titled "The Bull and the Beaver."


Leona Belle Helton was born January 7, 1943 in Vienna, Missouri.[1] Active in her family's band since childhood, she had a radio program on KWOS in Jefferson City, Missouri when she was fifteen.[1] Later on, she worked as a bass guitarist and backing vocalist in Loretta Lynn's road band. By 1968, Williams signed to the Hickory record label and released two singles: "Once More" and "Country Girl with Hot Pants On."[1] In 1976, she recorded the album San Quentin's First Lady for MCA Records, which was the first country album recorded by a female artist inside a prison.[1] She also joined Merle Haggard's road band in the mid-1970s, supplanting his estranged wife, Bonnie Owens. Leona wrote two of Merle's No. 1 hits, "Someday When Things Are Good", and "You Take Me For Granted". She also wrote songs for Connie Smith--"Dallas", Loretta Lynn--"Get Whatcha Got And Go", and others. Between 1978 and 1983, she was married to Haggard, and in 1978, the two charted in the country Top Ten with the song "The Bull and the Beaver."[1] She recorded two singles for Elektra Records in 1981, and charted another duet with Haggard titled "We're Strangers Again."[2] She later married singer-songwriter Dave Kirby in 1985,[2] and remained married to him until his 2004 death. Williams continues to tour with her son, Ron.[3]



Year Album information Chart Positions
US Country
1976 San Quentin's First Lady
1983 Heart to Heart (with Merle Haggard) 44
2001 Old Love Never Dies (with Merle Haggard)
2002 This is Leona Williams Country(including 11 duets with Merle Haggard)
  • Label: Ernest Tubb Record Shops
  • Released: 2002
  • Format: CD
2004 Honorary Texan
  • Label: Heart of Texas
  • Released: 2004
  • Format: CD
2005 I Love You Because
  • Label: Heart of Texas
  • Released: 2005
  • Format: CD
2008 Sings Merle Haggard
  • Label: Ah-Ha
  • Released: July 2008
  • Format: CD
2008 New Patches
  • Label: Heart of Texas
  • Released: September 2008
  • Format: CD
2011 Grass Roots
  • Label: Loveshine
  • Released: 2011
  • Format: CD
2011 Duets
  • Label: Loveshine
  • Released: 2011
  • Format: CD
2011 Melted Down Memories
  • Label: Loveshine
  • Released: 2011
  • Format: CD
2012 By George This is...Leona Williams
  • Label: Ah-Ha Music Group
  • Released: 2012
  • Format: CD
2013 Yes Ma'm, He Found Me in a Honky Tonk
  • Label: Bear Family
  • Released: November 5, 2013
  • Format: 3 CD set


Year Single Chart Positions
US Country[2] CAN Country
1969 "Once More" 66
1971 "Country Girl with Hot Pants On" 52
1973 "Your Shoeshine Girl" 93
1978 "The Bull and the Beaver" (with Merle Haggard) 8 25
1979 "The Baby Song"/"Call Me Crazy Lady" 92
1981 "I'm Almost Ready" 54
"Always Late with Your Kisses" 84
1983 "We're Strangers Again" (with Merle Haggard) 42
1986 "No Love Line"


  1. ^ a b c d e Loftus, Johnny. "Leona Williams biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. pp. 467–468. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  3. ^ "Leona Williams". Leona Williams. Retrieved 30 July 2011.