Cristy Lane

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Cristy Lane
Birth nameEleanor Johnston
Born (1940-01-08) January 8, 1940 (age 78)
Peoria, Illinois, USA
OriginEast Peoria, Illinois, USA
GenresCountry, Gospel, Christian
Years active1966–present
United Artists / Liberty

Eleanor Johnston, known by her professional name as Cristy Lane (born January 8, 1940) is an American country music and gospel music singer, best known for a number of major country hits in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, including her cover version of the song "One Day at a Time".

Lane's career began to take shape in the mid-1970s, after beginning to record for her husband's record label. Her first singles, "Trying to Forget About You" and "Sweet Deceiver", were released in 1977 followed by "Let Me Down Easy", her first major hit, by the end of the year. After having a series of Top 10 and 20 country hits, she signed with United Artists Records, and had her biggest hit with "One Day at a Time", a gospel song, that peaked at No. 1 on the country charts.

Early life[edit]

On January 8, 1940, Cristy Lane was born Eleanor Johnston to a family of twelve in Peoria, Illinois. Married to Lee Stoller before she was 20 years old, Lane had three children by 1964. Her husband heard her singing in the kitchen one day and encouraged her to sing professionally. Unfortunately, Lane was painfully shy. After a few tentative attempts and several nightclub appearances, she finally landed a guest slot on the Barn Dance radio program on Chicago’s WGN in 1968. Chicago proved to be inspirational, as it was from Chicago DJ Chris Lane that she took her stage name.[1]

Music career[edit]

Early music career[edit]

Several early attempts to break into Nashville’s country scene ended in disappointment, and Lane was struggling with the pressures of the performing career her husband was urging upon her. In 1969, Stoller organized a 120-show tour of Vietnam which resulted in a helicopter crash, leaving Lane stranded in the midst of a battle. After her harrowing experiences in Vietnam, Lane lost all hope of a jet-setting music career. She and her husband returned to Peoria and opened a pair of nightclubs featuring Lane as the marquee attraction. However, by 1972, Lane and her family had moved to a Nashville suburb to attempt once more to get her career off the ground. Lane was largely met with indifference from label executives, prompting her husband to form LS Records, his own label, in the mid-1970s.[1]

Breakthrough success: 1977 – 1981[edit]

After Stoller continuously promoted Lane's singles, the songs "Tryin' to Forget About You" and "Sweet Deceiver" charted in 1977.[2] Her next single, titled "Let Me Down Easy", was chosen as the background music for a national news story on a balloon festival. Although the exposure was limited, it brought enough attention for the song to peak in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, reaching No. 7. Her singles "Shake Me I Rattle" and "Penny Arcade" were top 20 and top 10 hits respectively. That year, LS released her debut album, Cristy Lane Is the Name, which included all three of the hit singles.

In 1979, Lane signed with United Artists Records and performed at the Academy of Country Music Awards, singing "I Just Can't Stay Married to You", and she won the award for Top New Female Vocalist that night. The national exposure from the performance helped gain her an increase of radio airplay and an increase in record sales, bringing the song to No. 5 on the Billboard Country Chart.

She released Simple Little Words, her third studio album, in 1979, after signing the contract with United Artists. Its title track reached the top 10, and the album's two additional singles "Come to My Love" and "Slippin' up, Slippin' Around" peaked in the top 20.

The next year, United Artists balked at releasing her next single "One Day at a Time", written by Kris Kristofferson and Marijohn Wilkin, which was previously a country hit by Marilyn Sellars. Before Lane's release of the song, Lena Martell had a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom with her version. Stoller predicted the song would have a successful impact on the charts, and decided that Lane's version would be released in early 1980. "One Day at a Time" became Lane's biggest hit, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart.[2]

The single's follow-up, "Sweet Sexy Eyes", made the country top 10 the same year, becoming her final entry in the Top 10.[3] She had a top 20 hit in 1981 with a cover of ABBA's "I Have a Dream", followed by a top 25 hit with "Love to Love You" from the same album. While serving eight months of a three-year prison sentence on bribery charges, Stoller collaborated with Pete Chaney to write Lane's biography. The book was published and self-promoted on television. The biography, also titled One Day at a Time, was sold in large amounts after being promoted.[4] Stoller promoted more of Lane's music and material on television in the mid-1980s, releasing new compilation albums along with the book, and her revenues greatly increased, as high as ten to one.[clarification needed] Lane's material was soon promoted constantly on television and eventually sold on the world wide web in the 1990s, helping her record sales increase worldwide.[2]

Later career: 1981 – present[edit]

In the late 1980s, Lane opened her own theater in Branson, Missouri, called The Cristy Lane Theatre, which helped revive her career. In 1989, she also performed at the Hershey Park Amphitheatre in Pennsylvania, and also recorded a version of "Lean on Me" with Michael Jackson, Terri Gibbs, and Tom T. Hall for Willie Nelson's Farm Aid Benefit.

Lane rented her theater in Branson into the 1990s, continuing to perform local concerts around the Branson area. However, in 1995, she was injured after falling from the top of the stage of the Jim Stafford Theatre where she was performing, temporarily suspending her music career. She then sold her theater, and later began performing again.[2] In the early 1990s, she released many compilation albums, including 20 Greatest Hits. Although it did not contain many of Lane's hits, it did garner positive reviews.[5]

Throughout the 1990s, she continued releasing more compilation albums, including releases such as Greatest Hits off the LS label, which included many of Lane's biggest hits as well as covers of other songs, including Christian and country music songs. The Greatest Hits album was given a positive review.[6] In August 2003, she was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in San Antonio, Texas for her recognition to the military, and was inducted into its hall of fame.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stoller, Rachel. "Biography". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Manheim, James. "Cristy Lane biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  3. ^ "Cristy Lane profile". Country Music Television. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  4. ^ "Cristy Lane page". Cristy Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  5. ^ Campbell, Al. "20 Greatest Hits review for Cristy Lane". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  6. ^ Adams, Greg. "Cristy Lane's Greatest Hits review". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  7. ^ "Veterans name Cristy Lane into VFW hall of fame". IP Retrieved 2008-09-12.

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