Cliffie Stone Family Photos
Award-winning singer/songwriter, Dottie West, and Cliffie backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in 1990. Cliffie met Dottie in 1982 when he was invited by his good friend, Snuff Garrett (who was producing Dottie’s album), to attend her recording sessions for her forthcoming Liberty album titled, “New Horizons.” It was an especially meaningful recording session to Cliffie because his son, Steve Stone, had co-written a song with Johnny Cunningham called “The Night Love Let You Down.” This song was pitched to Dottie and it was chosen to be one of the songs on her album. When Cliffie talked to Dottie in between takes at the session, she told him that she felt that Steve and Johnny’s song was one of the best songs she had ever recorded. Dottie’s “New Horizons” album (released in 1983) peaked at #65 on the “Top Country Albums” charts. Her first single, “Tulsa Ballroom,” charted on the Country’s Top 40 charts; however, the second single, “The Night Love Let You Down,” didn’t chart. Many radio stations resisted playing it because they felt that the songs in this album were too pop-oriented for country music at that time. Possibly Dottie and Snuff Garrett foresaw the future trends for country music because artists such as Faith Hill and Shania Twain began the pop-oriented trend for country music in the 1990s. Cliffie knew about Dottie’s poverty background and her difficult childhood circumstances as well as how hard it was for women to make it in country music, which was a male-dominated industry at that point in time. So he deeply admired and respected her courageous spirit to believe in herself, which helped her to rise above unfair, sad circumstances and tragic events. He enjoyed all of her songs and records during her long career - especially her duets with Kenny Rogers (“Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “All I Ever Need Is You,” and “What Are We Doin’ In Love,” which became country music standards. (In 1978 and 1979, Kenny and Dottie won the Country Music Association Awards’ “Vocal Duo of the Year”; in 1979, they received Music City News Country Awards – Duet of the Year.) A brief background: In 1959, Dottie and her first husband, Bill West (a steel guitar player) took a trip to Nashville to pursue a record deal for Dottie. She was turned down by several record labels and on their way back home to Ohio, they stopped at Starday Records; she spoke to the engineer and she paid for the costs to cut her first single, ‘Angel On Paper.’ It was played on several Nashville radio stations; although it didn’t become a hit, Opry manager, Ott Devine, heard it and he contacted Dottie and asked her to appear on the Grand Ole Opry. So it was only a matter of time when Dottie and her family moved from Ohio to Nashville. They became friends with a group of aspiring songwriters, which includes Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard. Dottie and Bill learned a lot about songwriting from them. During this time period, Dottie also met Patsy Cline at the Grand Ole Opry and they soon became inseparable friends. As it is for most fledging artists when they first go to Nashville, it was a difficult time for Dottie and her husband, who struggled to pay for rent and food. Patsy knew about their financial condition and she hired Dottie to help her with wardrobe as well as hiring her husband, Bill, to play in her band. The greatest inspirational advice that Patsy gave Dottie was: ‘When you’re on stage, sing to the audience with all your heart and mean it! If you can’t do it with feeling, then don’t!” When Patsy was seriously injured in her 1961 car accident, Dottie was one of the first people to rush to the scene to be with her. In March 1963, Dottie was one of the artists who performed with Patsy Cline at a benefit at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City. After that event, Patsy tragically died in a plane crash and you can well imagine the grief that Dottie must have gone through after losing her dear friend, who inspired her to be all that she could be! In 1965, Dottie won her first Grammy Award for “Best Female Country Vocal Performance” for “Here Comes My Baby” (which she co-wrote with husband, Bill West). Patsy Cline was an inspirational example to Dottie and Loretta Lynn; and they, in turn, helped to encourage other female singers such as Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. If you ‘Google’ Dottie’s name, it will take you to websites that will tell you about her very interesting life and country music career.

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