Louise Mandrell

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Louise Mandrell
Background information
Birth nameThelma Louise Mandrell
Also known asLouise Mandrell
Born (1954-07-13) July 13, 1954 (age 69)
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, entertainer
Years active1977–present
WebsiteOfficial website

Thelma Louise Mandrell (born July 13, 1954)[1] is an American country music singer. She is the younger sister of fellow country singer Barbara Mandrell, and older sister of actress Irlene Mandrell. Louise had a successful singing career in country music from the 1970s, with a string of hits during the 1980s.

Early life[edit]

Thelma Louise Mandrell was born in 1954,[2] to Mary Ellen (née McGill; born 1931) and Irby Matthew Mandrell (October 11, 1924 – March 5, 2009) in Corpus Christi, Texas, United States.[3] She is the second of three daughters. Sister Barbara is five and a half years older; sister Irlene is one and a half years younger. Her mother, Mary, was a homemaker and musician hailing from rural Wayne County, Illinois. Her father Irby was a World War II naval veteran and Texas police officer from Garland County, Arkansas. Irby Mandrell was an accomplished musician and entrepreneur as well. He used his impeccable social skills and knowledge of the music industry to manage all three of his daughters' careers for over three decades.

Although Louise Mandrell never developed the scale of fan base or the worldwide recognition that her older sister Barbara gained in country music, she is still credited as one of country music's more successful female vocalists of the 1980s. With their parents coming from a musical background, Barbara started off working as a singer, and playing the steel guitar and other instruments, and toured with Patsy Cline in the early 1960s.[4] Mandrell learned to play the guitar and bass. Soon, their parents founded the Mandrell Family Band, which toured the United States and Asia.

Barbara's professional recognition in country music in the early 1970s with hits like "Treat Him Right", "Show Me" and "The Midnight Oil" gave Louise opportunities at success. She started performing in Barbara's band The DoRites in 1969.[1] Her first time in the studio was on the recording "Always Wanting You", a no. 1 hit for Haggard in 1975.[citation needed] In 1978, she signed with Epic Records.[1]

Music career[edit]

Mandrell released her first single in 1978, called "Put It On Me", which appeared in the Billboard country music singles chart.[1] In 1979, she released her next single, a cover version of "Everlasting Love", another minor country hit.[1] She started singing duets with her husband R.C. Bannon, such as "I Thought You'd Never Ask," which entered the top 50, and a cover of the number 1 song by Peaches & Herb, "Reunited", which went to number 13, her first significant hit.[1] In 1980, following two more solo efforts that did not see the same success, she joined sisters Barbara and Irlene on the TV variety show Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.[1] This show showcased not only her singing, but her multi-instrumental and comedy talents as well. In 1981, she signed with RCA Records. In 1982, Mandrell had two top 40 hits, as well as the top 20 hit "Some of My Best Friends Are Old Songs".

1983 turned out to be her most successful year. She entered the top 15 with "Runaway Heart," and had the two top 10 hits "Save Me" (originally recorded by Northern Irish singer Clodagh Rodgers) and "Too Hot to Sleep".[1] In 1984, Mandrell had two other Top 40 hits, "Goodbye Heartache" and "I'm Not Through Loving You Yet," and in 1985 the song "I Wanna Say Yes" entered the top 5.

In 1985, RCA released her first video for the hit single "Some Girls Have All The Luck".

Mandrell's last studio album Dreamin' was released in 1987, with the single "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips" and having her last top 40 hit with the single "Do I Have To Say Goodbye". Her last charted single came in 1988, a cover of the song "As Long As We Got Each Other", a duet with Eric Carmen.[1]

RCA dropped Mandrell in 1988. During the 1990s, she released the videos and songs "Jean Paul" and "Down Home Christmas".

She was named the official 'Sweetheart of Tennessee.'

She was the unanimous choice of 50 Tennessee city managers -- the first time the city manager's association has so honored anyone. Miss Mandrell accepted 50 inscribed crimson hearts from the managers and in return entertained them with a few tunes. She also was named 1981's 'Yellow Rose of Texas' by the Texas state legislature, another first

Personal life[edit]

Her marriage to Ronald Shaw on July 1, 1971, ended in divorce in 1973. She subsequently married Gary Lamar Buck of the country music group The Four Guys on July 23, 1975. They divorced in 1978.

In 1978, Mandrell met R.C. Bannon. They married on February 26, 1979. He co-wrote songs for Barbara. "One of a Kind Pair of Fools" is a 1983 single written by Bannon and John Bettis and recorded by Barbara Mandrell. "Only One Love in My Life," written by R.C. Bannon and John Bettis, was Ronnie Milsap's 10th number 1.

Mandrell and Bannon adopted Nicole Mandrell Shipley in 1986. The couple divorced in 1991 and she married, for a fourth time, to John Haywood on July 16, 1993.

She became a grandmother for the first time in 2013.

Theater and writing[edit]

After leaving RCA Records, Mandrell continued to perform. In 1991, TNN began re-airing Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.

From 1992 to 1994, she headlined at the 4,000 seat Grand Palace Theatre in Branson, Missouri along with Kenny Rogers.[citation needed] On occasion, she shared the stage with Barbara, Sawyer Brown, Roger Miller, Waylon Jennings, and several other well-known country and pop music entertainers at The Grand Palace.

On September 12, 1997, Mandrell opened her own 1,400-seat theater, The Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, alongside other theaters such as Lee Greenwood's.[5] Mandrell appeared in every performance there and encompassed numerous musical styles, including country, jazz, and big band. It was considered the most attended (non-dinner) show in the Smoky Mountains.[citation needed] The Triumphant Quartet, formerly known as the Integrity Quartet, was the in-house Southern gospel group and back-up singers for Louise. The Louise Mandrell Theater had its last performance, to a sold-out house, on December 31, 2005. Mandrell sold the theater afterwards and it has changed hands twice since. The theater is now home to the "Smoky Mountain Opry."[citation needed]

In 1983, Mandrell co-wrote The Mandrell Family Album with writer Ace Collins. Later, they produced a series of children's books.

In 2012, she performed the title role of "Calamity Jane" at Roger Rocka's Dinner Theatre in Fresno, California through September 16, 2012. Mandrell reprised her role from July until September 15, 2019.[6]

Later career[edit]

Mandrell continues to perform at selected special occasions and corporate events.[citation needed] In December 2007, she performed in Washington, D.C., with the National Army band.[citation needed]

Over the Christmas and New Year 2008–2009, Mandrell performed at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville for one month.[citation needed] The multi-instrumental dinner show was entitled "Joy to the World". Mandrell also announced her intention to create a new show in 2010, "The Gift".[citation needed]

In 2009, she signed with Strouadavarious Records and announced her intention to release an album of country classics and a Christmas-themed album.[citation needed]

During 2011 and 2012, Mandrell joined Lee Greenwood on selected tour dates, including a six-week Branson run at the Welk Resort Theatre from September 12 – October 22.[citation needed]

Mandrell's final Christmas show at Gaylord Opryland titled "Louise Mandrell's Christmas Dinner Party" took place November 18 – December 25, 2011.

After 30 years, she released Playing Favorites, her 11th studio album of country standards on October 4, 2019.

Mandrell appeared on the Opry's country classic show in Nashville. The last time she performed on that stage was 50 years ago. the show was broadcast live on the radio program, Opry Country Classics at the Ryman Auditorium, October 3, 2019. She performed on the Grand Ole Opry live from the Ryman on November 30, 2019.

2022 Louise and Irlene join the special Opry show on 7/30/2022 for the 50th year membership of sister Barbara Mandrell as a Opry member.

Louise, once again took to the Opry stage in the Country classics segment 10/13/2022-12/4/2022 and 3/9/2023. more dates to come.

Commercial spokesperson[edit]

Mandrell was the spokesperson for Sanderson Farms' Miss Goldy's Chicken for 20 years, RC Cola in the early 80's and White Rain in the mid-1980s. 2021-22 Louise, along with Jimmy Fortune, (of the Statler bros) filmed a series of infomercials for TIME LIFE. These can be seen randomly on different networks throughout the country and online (Youtube).

Pop culture[edit]

In the 80's the Mandrell sisters were impersonated by the cast of Saturday Night Live on NBC. In 2007 Pam Tillis (country singer) released a song called "Band in the window" in the song she references Louise Mandrell. ("her name is Louise but not Mandrell, she has 80's hair and fringe") 2019 Canadian country artist Lisa Brokop released a video titled "who's gonna fill their heels" also references the Mandrell sisters.

Television appearances[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak
US Country
Close Up 30
Too Hot to Sleep
  • Release date: August 1983
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette, CD
I'm Not Through Loving You Yet
  • Release date: May 1984
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
Maybe My Baby
  • Release date: May 1985
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette, CD
  • Release date: 1987
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
Winter Wonderland
  • Release date: 1997
  • Label: Mandrell, inc.
  • Formats: CD, cassette
  • Release date: 1998
  • Label: Mandrell, Inc.
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Playing Favorites
  • Release date: October 4, 2019
  • Label: Time–Life
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Albums with R. C. Bannon[edit]

Title Details Peak
US Country
  • Release date: 1979
  • Label: Epic Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
Love Won't Let Us Let Go
  • Release date: October 1980
  • Label: Epic Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
Me and My R. C.
  • Release date: 1982
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
You're My Super Woman, You're My Incredible Man
  • Release date: 1982
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Title Details
Louise Mandrell
  • Release date: July 1981
  • Label: Epic Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
The Best of Louise Mandrell and R. C. Bannon
(with R. C. Bannon)
  • Release date: November 1983
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
Best of Louise Mandrell
  • Release date: 1987
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette
  • Release date: October 13, 1998
  • Label: Renaissance Records
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Sisters in Song
(with Barbara Mandrell)
  • Release date: 2001
  • Label: Sony Special Products
  • Formats: CD, cassette


Year Single Peak chart
US Country CAN Country
1978 "Put It on Me" 77 Louise Mandrell
1979 "Everlasting Love" 69
"I Never Loved Anyone Like I Loved You" 72
1980 "Wake Me Up" 63
"Beggin' for Mercy" 82
"Love Insurance" 61
1982 "(You Sure Know Your Way) Around My Heart" 35 40 Me and My R. C.
"Some of My Best Friends Are Old Songs" 20 39 You're My Super Woman, You're My Incredible Man
"Romance" 22 35
1983 "Save Me" 6 2 Close Up
"Too Hot to Sleep" 10 26 Too Hot to Sleep
"Runaway Heart" 13 10
1984 "I'm Not Through Loving You Yet" 7 8 I'm Not Through Loving You Yet
"Goodbye Heartache" 24 29
"This Bed's Not Big Enough" 52
1985 "Maybe My Baby" 8 23 Maybe My Baby
"I Wanna Say Yes" 5 3
"Some Girls Have All the Luck" 22 37
1986 "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips" 35 41 Dreamin'
1987 "Do I Have to Say Goodbye" 28 57
"Tender Time" 74
1988 "As Long As We Got Each Other" (with Eric Carmen) 51 The Best of Louise Mandrell
1991 "Jean Paul"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles with R. C. Bannon[edit]

Year Single Peak chart
US Country CAN Country
1979 "I Thought You'd Never Ask" 46 Inseparable
"Reunited" 13
"We Love Each Other" 48
1981 "Where There's Smoke There's Fire" 35 45 Me and My R. C.
1982 "Our Wedding Band" / "Just Married" 56 45
1983 "Christmas Is Just a Song for Us This Year" 35 A Country Christmas
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Single Director
1985 "Some Girls Have All the Luck"[7] Michael Lindsay Hogg
1991 "Jean Paul"[8] Louise Mandrell
1992 "Down Home Christmas"[9] Louise Mandrell


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 0-85112-726-6.
  2. ^ "Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 10–16". WTOP. July 10, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  3. ^ "Louise Mandrell". IMDb. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  4. ^ "The First Families of Country Music". CMT News. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  5. ^ Battle, Bob (December 17, 1996). "Louise Mandrell to add theater to Pigeon Forge". Nashville Banner. In the latest in a series of major entertainment features in the Smokies, singer Louise Mandrell plans to open her proposed 1,400-seat theater in the Music Road Entertainment Park at Pigeon Forge, Tenn., in the fall of 1997.
  6. ^ "Categories". Rogerrockas.com. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  7. ^ "New Videoclips" (PDF). Billboard. December 21, 1985.
  8. ^ "New Videoclips" (PDF). Billboard. December 21, 1985.
  9. ^ "New Videoclips" (PDF). Billboard. December 21, 1985.


  • Bufwack, Mary A. (1998). "Louise Mandrell". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 324.

External links[edit]