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Music / Reba McEntire

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Country Music's reigning queen for the better part of two decades, Oklahoman Reba Nell McEntire (born March 28, 1955 in McAlester, Oklahoma) has done it all. In her career, she has racked up more than thirty #1 hits (out of more than 80 singles overall) - more than any other female country music artist - and had the first multi-platinum album by a female country act. She is known for her twangy voice, bright red hair and strong, no-nonsense material. Her accolades include two Grammys (for "Whoever's in New England" and "Does He Love You"), as well as several trophies from the two major country music award associations, the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association. Although her radio hits were fewer and further between in the 2000s, she came back in full force in late 2009-early 2010 with "Consider Me Gone," the biggest hit of her career.

Reba has also dabbled in acting a few times, including a successful six season run in the Sitcom Reba and the role of Annie Oakley in the 2001 musical Annie Get Your Gun. She also played Heather Gummer, Burt's wife in the first Tremors. Come 2012, she's starring in another sitcom, Malibu Country, with nearly the same premise as her first sitcom.

To cap it all off, Reba was named a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee in 2011.



  • Absolute Cleavage: Her dress at the 1993 CMA Awards has this; though she's covered to her neck, the top was see-through, giving a faux neckline effect...and that faux neckline was halfway down her belly.
  • Album Title Drop: Despite having a title track, Love Somebody also has "Sometimes you don't love somebody until they don't love you" in "Until They Don't Love You".
  • Amicable Exes: The protagonists in "Every Other Weekend" are still in love with each other and regret their divorce.
  • Answer Song: "Whoever's in New England" was a response to Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England."
  • Bowdlerise: Many radio stations cut Reba's version of "Fancy" short after three verses, probably to avoid having the last verse describe that Fancy "charmed a king and a congressman" and used prostitution to gain wealth and build a Georgia mansion and a New York flat, and finally makes peace with her dead mother after 13 years. Some stations, however, note the full-length version's running time (4:59) and, to fit it within an already tightly-formatted program, defer to the radio edit.
    • The video version, at the end, depicts Fancy using her newfound wealth to open a safe home for runaway/troubled teenaged girls ... on the site of her childhood home.
  • Charity Motivation Song: "What If?", a charity single for the Salvation Army released in late 1997.
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  • Concept Video: She's famous for these, going all the way back to "Whoever's in New England". The video for "Is There Life Out There" took this to such an extent that CMT almost banned the video because of its length.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Twice. She changed The Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown" from first to third person (resulting in the story changing to a third party observing the storyline), and Lee Greenwood's "Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands" from third to first. Even though she was singing "Ring on my finger, time on my hands", she kept the original title on the CD listing and on the charts.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning:
    • "Cathy's Clown." The Everly Brothers original had third-party observers literally snicker at the "clown" every time Cathy approached him to play him for a fool. In Reba's cover, the protagonist is a sympathetic observer who wants to show him true love.
    • "Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands." Lee Greenwood's version is from a male perspective, admitting he had neglected his wife and admitting that her turning to another man was understandable. Reba's version takes it up another notch and virtually calls the husband cold and distant when he is home.
    • She is one of many women to cover Kenny Rogers' "Sweet Music Man", thus changing it from a Waylon Jennings tribute to a woman wishing the best to her husband while he seeks a music career.
    • Also changes the meaning in the video for "Because of You," which she sang with Kelly Clarkson. The original Kelly Clarkson video is about parental neglect, while the Reba cover is about domestic violence.
  • Distant Duet: With Vince Gill for "The Heart Won't Lie," with Brooks & Dunn for "If You See Him/If You See Her," and with Kenny Chesney for "Every Other Weekend." Averted for "Does He Love You" with Linda Davis, and for "Because of You" with Kelly Clarkson.
  • '80s Hair: In The '80s, her hair was frequently bigger than she was.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In this segment on Nashville Now, K.T. Oslin tells Reba that they're going to talk and to "hustle your shapely fanny back over here" to to her desk so they can get to it. K.T. then tells the audience to stay tuned because they "won't want to miss this".
  • The Film of the Song: She starred in a 1994 TV movie on CBS based on her 1992 single "Is There Life Out There".
  • First-Name Basis: Ever since the 1988 album Reba, she's been credited only by her first name on all of her albums.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Several of them, as befits her long and impressive career.
  • Heavy Meta: "Turn On the Radio".
  • Hypocrite: The last verse of "Fancy" features the titular character slamming people who judge her mother for pushing her into prostitution, since Fancy knows that the woman was consumed with guilt for her actions.
    Now, in this world there's a lot of self-righteous hypocrites that call me bad
    And criticize momma for turning me out, no matter how little we had
    But though I ain't had to worry about nothing for nigh on fifteen years
    Well, I can still hear the desperation in my poor momma's voice ringing in my ears.
  • "Leaving the Nest" Song: "Fancy" contains a much darker variation on the theme than most: Fancy, the protagonist, is living in abject poverty with her terminally ill mother and a baby sibling. In order to rescue Fancy from living this way for the rest of her life, the mother buys her a "dancing dress" and tells her to "be nice to the gentlemen...and they'll be nice to you." Yes, she basically sends Fancy out into the world to make a life for herself via prostitution. On the other hand, it does work out for Fancy in the end: she owns multiple properties while still in her 30s, and she has a few words for people who criticize her mother for doing what she did, when there didn't seem to be any better options.
  • Longing Look: "The Heart Won't Lie," a duet with Vince Gill, is pretty much this trope in song form.
  • Loudness War: Present on the Duets album, particularly with the rendition of "Because of You". The guitars and strings are so loud and compressed, especially on the bridge, where Reba's lead vocal is almost completely buried in the mix. It almost sounds like a Rascal Flatts outtake. What makes this more surprising is that the track was produced by Tony Brown, whose work with her in The '90s averted this, likely due to John Guess being the engineer on those albums instead of Chuck Ainlay.
  • Love Triangle: "Does He Love You" has two women feuding over the same man.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Little Rock" is a bouncy, upbeat little song about leaving your neglectful husband and asking for a divorce.
    • "Fancy" is a belting, rocking song about an impoverished teenage girl being forced into prostitution by her dying mother after her father abandons the family.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: In 1995, she covered Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald's "On My Own" with guest vocals from Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, and Linda Davis.
  • Melismatic Vocals: A trademark of her delivery until the mid-1990s; see Vocal Evolution below.
  • Murder Ballad: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia".
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: In "For My Broken Heart", we get a parody/variation in this lyric:
    Last night I prayed the Lord my soul to keep,
    Then I cried myself to sleep.
  • The Oldest Profession: The protagonist of "Fancy" is an 18-year-old woman sent into prostitution by her desperate mother.
  • One Mario Limit: To the point that she's listed as just "Reba" on the singles charts and on all of her albums since 1987's Reba.
  • Pretty in Mink: She wore a white fox fur wrap for the video "Does He Love You" and a white mink coat for the cover of her album "Merry Christmas to You".
  • Sequel Song: The video for "Love Needs a Holiday" features the couple from "Somebody."
  • Special Guest: She's done this on both of her Reba costar Melissa Peterman's sitcoms after Reba ended, in Working Class and Baby Daddy. She also appeared in Young Sheldon, which also features Peterman as a recurring character. Like wise she appeared in her tv daughter JoAnna Garcia Swisher's short-lived sitcom Better with You as her wedding planner.
  • Spit Take: Done here in the video for Aaron Tippin's "Honky Tonk Superman" (at 3:45).
  • Teen Pregnancy: Implied in the video for "Is There Life Out There", when her character Maggie's daughter spills coffee on her schoolwork. The daughter apologizes that it was an accident, to which Maggie replies that "I don't need any more accidents in my life!" Maggie's husband then steps in to call her out on this, and a horrified Maggie breaks down when she realizes what she said.
    • Invoked for the video of "You're Gonna Be."
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Several songs in her catalog do this.
    • Her duet with Vince Gill on "Oklahoma Swing" starts with Vince singing in B♭, then jumps down to E♭ when Reba comes in. It then remains in the lower key for all other vocal parts between the two of them, only jumping back up at the solos.
    • "Is There Life Out There" goes from C to D at the second chorus. The album version contains a solo, and then another repeat of the chorus in the higher key, but the radio edit cuts off after the first key-changed chorus ends.
    • "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" goes from C Dorian on the verses to G major on the chorus.
    • "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" jumps from D to E♭ halfway through the last chorus.
    • "We're So Good Together": the opening is in G, but it shifts down to E at the verses before returning to G at the chorus.
    • Brooks & Dunn originally recorded "Cowgirls Don't Cry" in the key of A Major all the way through. When they released a remix that had Reba singing the final chorus, this required a key change due to her different vocal range. The result was a gear change all the way up to the key of E.
  • Vocal Evolution: One of her trademarks was her melismatic, vowel-bending, theatrical singing voice. Over time, she's ditched most of the theatrics and now sings in a more straightforward voice (partially because her older style was giving her vocal polyps).
  • Wham Line: "Somebody" starts out being about a man sharing his dating troubles with a waitress at his favorite diner. She tells him that he may be surprised to find the love of his life might be right in front of him and he never noticed. The chorus goes on to talk about how the perfect person could be someone you walk past every day and just haven't really met yet. As the man is taking the elevator in his apartment complex, he notices "that blue-eyed girl from two floors up" and wonders if she could be the one the waitress meant. The third verse makes it abundantly clear though that:
    Now they laugh about the moment that it happened
    The moment they both missed until that day
    When he saw his future in her eyes
    Instead of just another friendly face
    And he wonders why
    He searched so long
    When she was always there
    At that diner waiting on...
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: She's got an absolutely stunning pair of wickedly vibrant blue eyes and wields them to often devastating effect.


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