KT Oslin, a multi-Latin country singer-songwriter who won three Grammys, including one for her breakout single “’80s Ladies,” died today. She was 78 years old. She had battled Parkinson’s for several years and lived in an assisted care facility. She was recently diagnosed with Covid-19. No official cause of death has been disclosed.
Oslin was a rare late bloomer in the country music industry. She finally hit the top 10 country hit “’80s Ladies” in 1987 when she was 45 years old – about 23 years after her first recording. She followed with the country smashes “Do Ya” and “I’ll Always Be Back”, all of which come from her RCA album ’80s Ladies’. This CD topped the Billboard Country LPs chart and peaked at number 68 on the pop albums chart.
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It followed with another platinum LP, This Woman from 1988, with the country chart topper “Hold Me” and the No. 2 hit “Hey Bobby” as well as the 1990 gold disc Love in a Small Town. The latter produced Oslin’s fourth single “Come Next Monday”.
During her career, Oslin won four Academy of Country Music Awards, including Top New Female Vocalist in 1987 and Top Female Vocalist the following year. She won the Country Music Association’s Singer of the Year Award in 1988 and the Ladies of the 1980s Song of the Year. She won consecutive Grammys in 1988 (“80s Ladies”) and “89” (“Hold On”) for “Best Country Vocal Performance, Female” and another in 1989 for “Best Country Song” (“Hold Me”).
She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame four years earlier.
Kay Toinette Oslin was born on May 15, 1942 in Crossett, AK, and grew up in Houston. Oslin sang in a folk trio with Guy Clark in the 1960s and made her debut in 1964.
Oslin also appeared in musical theater in the mid-1960s, including Hello, Dolly! Touring production. She later toured with Carol Channing, the star of the show, before returning to Broadway with it. She also appeared on the main stem shows Promises, Promises and Darling of the Day in the late 1960s.
Before setting her own chart records, she wrote a few hits for other artists in the 1980s, including Dottie West, the Judds, and Sissy Spacek. After their meteoric map rise subsided, Oslin’s songs were recorded by several artists including Anne Murray, Dorothy Moore, and Dusty Springfield in the 1990s. She also became a regular on the talk show.
The funeral arrangements were incomplete.
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