She was named after her mother's favorite actress, Shelley Winters. During the time West was born, Dottie was trying to make it as a Country artist in Nashville, Tennessee. By the time Shelly was five years old, West finally made it big in 1963, with a hit called "Here Comes My Baby Back Again". Dottie West became the first female artist to win a Grammy award with this single. Shelly got her start at age 17 touring with her mother's show.
She started out singing backup, but was soon given lead vocals. While touring, she fell in love with her mother's lead guitarist Allen Frizzell; they married and left the band in 1977 to move to California. Allen was the little brother of Lefty and David Frizzell, the latter of whom had a regular gig in a neighboring town. The newlyweds soon joined his band and played with him for a few months.
They toured the Southwest, and upon their return, David began looking for a record label. A demo of the duet "Lovin' on Borrowed Time" featuring West and her brother-in-law impressed record producer Snuff Garrett, who signed them both to Casablanca West. Unfortunately, Polygram took over the label and dumped the duo, who unsuccessfully tried their luck in Nashville. 1980 – 1982: Success with David Frizzell Garrett still believed the two had potential and eventually played their song and its follow-up "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" to actor Clint Eastwood, who had just founded his own record label, Viva. Eastwood liked the latter song and added it to his film, Any Which Way You Can.
The song hit number one on the country charts in early 1981. The duo became a popular duet group in the early part of the decades and released a big-selling album in 1981, Carrying on the Family Names. Between 1980 and 1982, they won the Country Music Association's Vocal Duo of the Year twice. Their next four songs, beginning with the Top Ten hit, "A Texas State of Mind", were also successful, and the duo's considerable success continued through 1985, when they split up. (They cited a lack of good duet songs as their main reason; the fact that West and her husband had just divorced may also have been a factor).
Their popularity started to drain following 1982 after the artists wanted to focus on solo careers. Their last studio album was released in 1983, In Session. However, they did record singles up until 1986. 1983 – 1986: Solo career West made her solo debut in 1983 with "Jose Cuervo," which hit #1 and provided a sales boost for the tequila company. Her solo follow-up "Flight 309 to Tennessee" made the Top Five. West's first solo album was released in 1983, West by West which was a big seller that year.
West continued to notch a number of solo hits over the next three years under her record label. In 1984, West notched another Top 10 smash, "Another Motel Memory" off her second solo album, Red Hot. Following "Jose Cuervo"'s success, West's hits began to become less and less as big as they had been before. However, West still was able to stay within Country's Top 40 up until 1985, including, "Somebody Buy This Cowgirl a Beer" and "Don't Make Me Wait on the Moon." She released a final studio album before departing with her record label in 1985 called, Don't Make Me Wait on the Moon.
Later that year she had one more mid-range hit, "Love Don't Come Any Better Than This", and then faded from the charts. West did not record almost at all following 1986 after marrying for a second time. 1987 – present: Career today West did reunite with David Frizzell for a few shows in the late 1980s.In 1990, Shelly toured with her mother, Dottie West; together, they were popular on the road. The following year, Shelly's mother was involved in a major car accident (in late August). Dottie West eventually died on September 4, 1991, from the accident.
To honor her mother, West was a technical adviser for a television biopic about her mother's life, Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story, produced by and starring actress Michele Lee. Since then West left the music business, preferring to raise her young family. In 2005, CMT honored Shelly and her duet partner, David Frizzell, when they were voted No. 6 on their 100 Greatest Duets Special. Although they did not perform any songs, Shelly West and David Frizzell appeared on the CMT special in June 2005, and West was interviewed on CMT. Read more on Last.fm.
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