born on 30/9/1953 in Memphis, TN, United States
Deborah Allen (born Deborah Lynn Thurmond on September 30, 1953 in Memphis, Tennessee) is an American country music singer. Since 1976, Allen has issued 12 albums and charted 14 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, most notably the 1983 crossover hit "Baby I Lied" which reached No. 4 on the country charts and No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Allen has also written No. 1 singles for herself, Janie Fricke and John Conlee, Top 5 hits for Patty Loveless, Tanya Tucker and Top 10 hits for The Whites and others.
Early Life & Rise to Fame
Allen was born Deborah Lynn Thurmond in Memphis, Tennessee and was strongly influenced by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Ray Charles, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the current music which was being played in Memphis on WHBQ and WDIA, as well as country greats such as Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. At 18, Allen moved to Nashville to begin pursuing her career in music. She worked a short stint as a waitress at the local Music Row IHOP restaurant. While there one day, Deborah met Roy Orbison and songwriter Joe Melson. Two weeks later, Orbison and Melson, who admired her spunk, decided to hire Allen as to sing background on a couple of Orbison tracks.
Allen also auditioned for and landed a job at the Opryland USA theme park. She was soon chosen by Opryland as a featured soloist and dancer for a state department exchange tour of Russia starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Upon her return from Russia, Deborah gravitated to the Nashville offices of Waylon Jennings, the Tompall & the Glaser Brothers and John Hartford where her close friend, Marie Barrett, worked as a secretary. There she met her soon-to-be songwriting mentor, poet, playwright, artist and songwriter Shel Silverstein. After watching her perform during a happy hour show at the Spence Manor on Nashville's famed Music Row, Shel advised Deborah to pursue songwriting as an extension of her creativity and career path.
Allen also began to pursue a singing career in her own right when she was chosen to be a regular on Jim Stafford's ABC summer replacement series. She went on to serve as an opening act for many of Stafford's personal appearances. Jim and producer Phil Gernhard brought Deborah back to Nashville to record a CB radio novelty record called "Do You Copy." It was recorded live and was released as a single on Warner Bros. Records. Although she appreciated the opportunity to record with Stafford and Gernhard, Deborah was disheartened that after waiting patiently for two years to record her first record, it was a novelty tune. She decided to move back to Nashville to follow her true musical direction.
In 1979, while singing at a private party, Deborah was discovered by producer Bud Logan, who invited her to sing on five unfinished duet tracks by the late country legend Jim Reeves. Three of these songs were "Don't Let Me Cross Over," "Oh, How I Miss You Tonight" and "Take Me In Your Arms and Hold Me." All three duets were released as singles, and made the Top 10 on the country charts for Reeves' longtime label, RCA Records. Deborah was billed as "The Mystery Singer" on the first release, an innovative promotion by label head, Joe Galante.
Career peak: 1980s
In 1980, Allen signed with Capitol Records. Her debut album for the label was 1980's Trouble in Paradise. The album produced her initial solo hits "Nobody's Fool" and "You Make Me Wonder Why," the latter became Allen's highest charting single from the album, peaking at No. 20. Subsequent chart singles included "You Look Like the One I Love" (a song she had co-written) and "After Tonight," co-written by Troy Seals. At the same time, Deborah had written a song called "Don't Worry 'Bout Me Baby" with Bruce Channel and Keiran Kane. Although she pleaded with her record label, Capitol, to let her record it and release it as a single, they refused. With the encouragement of music publisher Don Gant, Janie Fricke's producer, Jim Ed Norman, heard "Don't Worry 'Bout Me Baby" and recorded it with Fricke. The single became Deborah's first No. 1 single on the Billboard charts as a songwriter, affirming Allen's belief that songwriting was the way to create a successful future for herself.
In 1983, Deborah moved to RCA Records, where she achieved her greatest success, releasing the album Cheat the Night. The first single from the album became Allen's signature song, "Baby I Lied," which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard country chart and crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 26 in January 1984. The song also climbed into the Top 10 of the Adult Contemporary charts. Allen followed the crossover hit with the country single "I've Been Wrong Before," which went to No. 1 on the Cashbox country chart in the spring of 1984. Later that year, "I Hurt For You," also from Allen's breakthrough album, became a Top 10 country hit. In 1984, she recorded "Let Me Be the First," the first album to be digitally recorded inand released fromNashville. In 1984, Allen made the charts once again with "Heartache and a Half" (written by Allen with Rafe VanHoy and legendary Muscle Shoals songwriter Eddie Struzick).
In 1987, encouraged by her label, RCA, to explore and expand her musical horizons, Allen released a single penned by Prince (musician), under the alias Joey Coco, called "Telepathy." An album of the same name was also released. In 1987, Allen released her last single for RCA, "You're the Kind of Trouble."
Comeback & Life Today
Without the constraints of a major label, Deborah was free to be indepndently creative, nurturing her success as a songwriter. After the No. 1 co-written hit, "Don't Worry 'Bout Me Baby" and the Tanya Tucker hit "Can I See You Tonight," Allen scored another No. 1 for Janie Frickie called, "Let's Stop Talking About It," as well as the No. 1 John Conlee release, "I'm Only In It For The Love," which she co-wrote with Kix Brooks and VanHoy.
During this time, Allen began to explore the songwriting influences in her deep Southern roots, recording the album Delta Dreamland which she co-produced and financed on her own. She received rave reviews from the Nashville music industry for its raw honest emotion and earthy production.
Soon, the ever tenacious Allen was able to make a deal with Giant Records to release the album under their label in 1993. That same year, she had single release from the album with the song "Rock Me (In the Cradle of Love)". Although "Rock Me" charted at No. 30 on the Billboard charts, the record seemed to reach a much larger audience and status by virtue of the hit video that accompanied its release. The video of "Rock Me" was filmed on Deborah's own 16mm Ariflex SR film camera and edited on her own Sony editing machine. Again Deborah's tenacity and do it yourself attitude paid off when she received The Music City Summit Award for her co-producing and co-directing skills. Deborah's hands on approach to her music and career was her salvation in a business that can be so easily fickled and swayed by the ever-changing flavor of the month.
Allen also had one other charting single from the "Delta Dreamland" album with, "If You're Not Gonna Love Me". This landmark album served to show Allen as a new person, with more depth as a writer, as well as a more sensual image and a bluesy new style.
Allen's 1994 album, All That I Am, which was co-produced by Deborah and label head, James Stroud, was also well received with her single release"Break These Chains". Since the release of her two Giant Records albums, Allen has remained a popular songwriter and one of the most revered vocalist in Nashville.
In addition to Allen's personal albums, Deborah contributed to the soundtrack of the 1993 film "The Thing Called Love". She sings a rollicking version of the closing song "Blame It On Your Heart" (also covered by Patty Loveless) and the memorable Don Schlitz ballad "Ready and Waiting".
Once again, it was time to regroup and start anew, which Deborah did with her new co-publishing deal and record deal with Curb music publishing and Curb Records. Through her connection with LeAnn Rimes who was intent on meeting Deborah when she came to Nashville at age 13 to pursue a record deal of her own, Allen wound up with five songs recorded by the young talented Rimes. Two songs on the multi-platinum "Blue" album and Three songs on Rimes' "Sittin' On Top Of The World" album.
Shortly after Deborah's success with Rimes, her song, "We Can Get There" would up on four million selling Coyote Ugly Soundtrack sung by Mary Griffin.
Allen continues to perform all over the world and is extremely active today in her songwriting and producing. Her new album was released through Delta Rock Records and GMV Nashville on August 16, 2011. The album is titled "Hear Me Now". The first single from "Hear Me Now" is "Anything Other Than Love," co-written by Gary Burr. The album also contains Allen's song "Amazing Graceland," a moving tribute to Elvis Presley. Both songs are currently available as pre-release tracks on iTunes and other digital outlets.
Allen's publishing companies, Delta Queen Music and Delta Rose Music is currently co-published with partner, Delta Rock Music. She is represented by Raymond Hicks of Rolling Thunder Management.
Allen co-wrote "Your Loss" with Savannah Maddison in 2012, which was the 11-year old's first song.
- Main article: Deborah Allen discography
- Betts, Stephen L., AOL Music; Deborah Allen interview, Nov. 2011
- Betts, Stephen L., AOL Music; Deborah Allen interview, Nov. 2011
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Deborah Allen
- Authorized Deborah Allen Baby I Lied Home Page, Founded 1998