Born in March of 1930 in West Plains, Missouri, Grand Ole Opry member Jan Howard was first discovered by her third husband, songwriter Harlan Howard, as she was singing while washing the dishes in her kitchen. After her husband heard her sing, for the very first time, he encouraged her to pursue a career in country music. Howard made a demo tape of one of her husband’s songs, “Mommy for a Day,” and was able to get a gig working as a demo singer for Harlan. She sang demos for other artists, like Buck Owens, Tex Ritter and Patsy Cline. In 1959, she made her debut, with the song “Yankee Go Home.” The years that followed brought her great success, and in 1960, she made her Grand Ole Opry debut. In 1971, she was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1960, Jan and Harlan moved to Tennessee, where they appeared on The Prince Albert Show, the Grand Ole Opry segment carried nationally by NBC Radio. She then released her single, “The One You Slip Around With,” which peaked at Number Thirteen on the country charts. Throughout the next few years, she released singles like “I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again,” “What Makes a Man Wander” and “Any Old Way You Do.” She reached the Top 10 with hits like “Evil on Your Mind” and “Bad Seed,” and the Top 20 with her singles “Count Your Blessings, Woman,” “My Son” and “We Had All the Good Things Going.”
Throughout her career, Howard has been nominated for a number of awards, including two Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance on her songs “Evil on Your Mind” and “My Son.” She was also named the Most Promising Female Artist in 1960 by Billboard magazine and has been nominated for three CMA Awards for her work with Bill Anderson.
Howard has also been a successful songwriter in her time, with hits like Kitty Wells’ “It’s All Over But the Crying” and Bill Anderson’s “Love Is a Sometimes Thing.” With Bill Anderson, Howard has also co-written the Connie Smith hit “I Never Once Stopped Loving You” in 1970.