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Anita Carter

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Anita Carter
Anita Carter in 1977
Anita Carter in 1977
Background information
Birth nameIna Anita Carter
Born(1933-03-31)March 31, 1933[1]
Maces Spring, Virginia, US
DiedJuly 29, 1999(1999-07-29) (aged 66)[1]
Hendersonville, Tennessee, U.S.
GenresCountry, folk
Instrument(s)Bass, 12-string guitar, autoharp, vocals
LabelsRCA Victor, Cadence, Columbia, Audiograph, United Artists, Liberty, Capitol, House of Cash
Formerly ofCarter Family, The Carter Sisters

Ina Anita Carter (March 31, 1933 – July 29, 1999) was an American singer who played upright bass, guitar, and autoharp. She performed with her sisters, Helen and June, and her mother, Maybelle, initially under the name The Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle. Carter had three top ten hits as well as other charting singles. She was the first to record the songs "Blue Boy" and "Ring of Fire". Carter was also a songwriter, most notably co-writing the Johnny Cash hit "Rosanna's Going Wild."

Carter recorded for a number of labels, both as a solo artist and with her family, including RCA Victor, Cadence, Columbia, Audiograph, United Artists, Liberty and Capitol.


Anita was the third daughter of Ezra and Maybelle Carter. Born in Maces Spring, Virginia, she scored two top ten hits in 1951 with "Down the Trail of Achin' Hearts" and "Bluebird Island," both duets with Hank Snow. In 1962, she recorded "Love's Ring of Fire," written by her sister June and Merle Kilgore. After the song failed to make the charts, Johnny Cash recorded it as "Ring of Fire" in March 1963 with the horns and the Carter Sisters (along with Mother Maybelle). This version became a hit for Cash.

She reached the top ten again in 1968 with "I Got You," a duet with Waylon Jennings.[1] Carter also reached the top 50 with hits like "I'm Gonna Leave You" in 1966 and "Tulsa County" in 1971.

On March 26, 1952, she appeared on The Kate Smith Evening Hour with her family band "The Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle" as the first females to represent hillbilly/country music and Music City Nashville on national television.[2] On April 23, she returned to the program, where she performed a duet with Hank Williams, on his song "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)".[3] Then on May 21, she became the first female star of the Grand Ole Opry to sing a solo on The Kate Smith Evening Hour when she sang "Just When I Needed You".[4]


Carter married fiddler Dale Potter in 1950 (marriage was annulled shortly thereafter), session musician Don Davis in 1953 (divorced and then remarried), and Bob Wootton (lead guitarist for Johnny Cash's band The Tennessee Three) in 1974 (divorced). She had two children.


Carter suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for many years, and the drugs used to treat it severely damaged her pancreas, kidneys, and liver. She died on July 29, 1999, at the age of 66,[5] a year after eldest sister Helen and four years before middle sister June. She was under hospice care at the home of Johnny and June Carter Cash in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Her interment was in Hendersonville Memory Gardens in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Album discography apart from Carter Family[edit]

Albums Label Date
"Blue Doll" (Single) Cadence Records – 1333 1957
Together Again (with Hank Snow) RCA Victor LSPLSP – 2580 Nov. 1962
Folk Songs Old and New Mercury SR – 60770 Dec. 1962
Anita Carter of the Carter Family Mercury SR – 60847 Feb. 1964
So Much Love Capitol ST – 11075 1972
Yesterday House Of Cash HOC – 1000 1995
Appalachian Angel: Her Recordings 1950–1972 & 1996 Bear Family Records June 22, 2004

Singles chart activity apart from Carter Family[edit]

Year Title US


1950 "Somebody's Cryin'" N/A
1951 "Down the Trail of Achin' Hearts"/"

Bluebird Island"

2 duet with Hank Snow
1953 "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight" N/A
1955 "Pledging my Love" N/A as part of 'Nita, Rita & Ruby
"That's What Makes the Jukebox Play" N/A
"Making Believe" N/A
"False Hearted" N/A
1956 "Keep Your Promise, Willie Thomas" N/A duet with Hank Snow
"A Tear Fell" N/A
"Believe It Or Not" N/A
1957 "Blue Doll" N/A
"He's a Real Gone Guy" N/A
1960 "Mama (Don't Cry at My Wedding)" N/A
"Tryin' to Forget About You" N/A
1963 "Ring of Fire" N/A
"Running Back" N/A
1964 "Little Things Mean a Lot" N/A
1965 "Twelve O'Clock High" N/A
1966 "You Couldn't Get My Love Back (If You Tried)"/"

I'm Gonna Leave You"

"I've Heard The Wind Blow Before" N/A
1967 "Love Me Now (While I Am Living)" 61
"You Weren't Ashamed to Kiss Me (Last Night)" N/A
1968 "I Got You" 4 duet with Waylon Jennings
"Cry Softly" N/A
"To Be a Child Again" 65
1969 "Coming of the Roads" 50 duet with Johnny Darrell
1970 "Tulsa County" 41
1971 "Lovin' Him Was Easier"/"

A Whole Lotta Lovin'"


Selected studio and guest artist appearances[edit]

Year Artist & Title (album unless otherwise noted) Peak Chart Position Comments
1949 Chet Atkins: "Main Street Breakdown" (single) NA played bass
1951 Jimmy Murphy singles including "Electricity", "Mother Where is Your Daughter Tonight", others na played bass, she and Murphy were the sole musicians on these sessions
1960 Connie Smith: Cute 'n' Country 1 backing vocals
1963 Johnny Cash with the Carter Family: Blood, Sweat and Tears 80 duet on "Another Man Done Gone"
1966 Connie Smith: Great Sacred Songs 19 backing vocals
1967 Porter Wagoner: Soul of a Convict & Other Great Prison Songs 7 backing vocals
1967 Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life 4 backing vocals
1968 Porter Wagoner: Bottom of the Bottle 19 backing vocals
1968 Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Just Between You & Me 8 backing vocals; lead vocal on chorus of 1967 single "The Last Thing on My Mind"
1968 Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Just the Two of Us 5 backing vocals
1968 Dolly Parton: Just Because I'm a Woman 22 backing vocals
1969 Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Always, Always 5 backing vocals
1969 Waylon Jennings: Just to Satisfy You 7 two duet vocals
1970 Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Porter Wayne & Dolly Rebecca 4 backing vocals
1980 Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: single "Making Plans" 2 backing vocals on original recording, 1968
1987 Johnny Cash: Johnny Cash is Coming to Town 36 backing vocals with the Carter Family
1991 Johnny Cash: The Mystery of Life 70 backing vocals


  1. ^ a b c Bush, John. "Anita Carter Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  2. ^ The Kate Smith Evening Hour - 26 March 1952, National Broadcasting Company, 1952, retrieved October 15, 2022
  3. ^ "Hank Williams Duets With Anita Carter On 1952 Episode Of 'The Kate Smith Evening Hour'". Country Music Family. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  4. ^ "The Kate Smith Evening Hour w/ WSM's Grand Ole Opry Guests, May 21st, 1952 [video recording]". digi.countrymusichalloffame.org. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  5. ^ Polatnick, Gordon. "Anita Carter". Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2016.