Jessi Colter made a powerful statement when she released her debut album in 1970, titled A Country Star is Born. It turns out that the title hit the nail square on the head, because within a few years Colter’s star was one of the brightest in country music.
Along with Tompall Glaser, Willie Nelson, and her husband Waylon Jennings, Colter appeared on the hit compilation album Wanted! The Outlaws. The album was the first in country music history to ever earn Platinum certification from the RIAA.
As a result of Wanted! and her hit solo albums, Colter established herself as one of few female figures in the outlaw movement. She has since gone on to earn a legendary status, and continues to perform today. Her latest album, The Psalms, was released in March 2017.
To celebrate Colter’s breathtaking talent, we’ve gathered up five of her best performances for y’all to enjoy. You can go down below to see them all!
“Storms Never Last”
Colter and Jennings collaborated on numerous occasions, with one of their most successful duets being “Storms Never Last.” Written by Colter, the song climbed all the way to the 17th spot on the chart. It was included on Colter and Jennings’ hit duet album Leather and Lace, which was released in 1981.
The couple performed “Storms Never Last’ many times throughout the years, but the above performance is one of our favorites. The chemistry they shared was undeniable, which is what made their performance so much fun to watch. At one point, Jennings surprised his wife and the crowd by leaning over and giving her a big kiss!
Despite Jennings’ attempt to distract her, Colter powered through the performance. Her soft voice complemented her husband’s raspier tone, resulting in a beautiful duet.
“What’s Happened to Blue Eyes”
Written by Colter, “What’s Happened to Blue Eyes” tells the story of a woman who’s desperately searching for her lover, who she simply calls “blue eyes.” She asks everyone if they have seen him anywhere, and hopes that he’s still looking for her too.
Colter released the song in 1975, and it became one of the biggest hits of her career. It reached the fifth spot on the Hot Country Songs chart, and also claimed the 57th position on the Billboard Hot 100.
Anyone who has ever watched Colter perform before knows that she is an expert at singing emotional songs. The performance above shows Colter’s extraordinary ability to connect to her songs, as she sits at her piano and effortlessly sings “What’s Happened to Blue Eyes.”
One year after Elvis Presley released his chart-topping version of “Suspicious Minds,” Colter and Jennings offered their own take on the tune. Their decision to do so resulted in the creation of their most successful duet.
When it was first released in 1970, Colter and Jennings’ version of “Suspicious Minds” only climbed as high as the 25th spot on the chart. But the couple decided to issue a re-release of the song in 1976, and it met greater success. It flew all the way to the second spot on the chart, and remained a staple of the couples’ set from that moment on.
As true evidence of Colter’s talent, she has always managed to shine even when she shared the stage with her husband. She fed off of Jennings’ energy whenever she performed with him, and the two always ended up delivering a show-stopping performance. Just watch the above video of them singing “Suspicious Minds” as proof!
“I’m Not Lisa”
“I’m Not Lisa” was the song that put Colter on the map as a force to be reckoned with in country music. Written by Colter, it served as the lead single off of her second studio album, I’m Jessi Colter.
The song topped the country chart in both the U.S. and Canada, and was also a hit in Austria and New Zealand. Its appearance at the fourth spot on the pop chart proved that Colter had the crossover appeal to become a superstar. As we now know, she did just that.
Performances like the one above show why Colter and “I’m Not Lisa” soared to instant fame. Once again, Colter’s emotional investment in the song allowed her to put forth a chill-inducing performance. It’s one performance that will always leave you breathless, no matter how much time has passed.
“The Lord Is My Shepherd”
Colter’s mother was a Pentecostal preacher, and Colter often sang hymns and other religious songs for her congregation. Colter maintained a lifelong love of those songs and the Psalms in the Bible.
Colter shared some of her favorite Psalms with her fans in her 2017 release, The Psalms. The album features her soaring piano playing and her heartfelt portrayals of some of the Bible’s most recognizable Psalms.
One of the Psalms that Colter recorded as Psalm 23, also known as “The Lord is My Shepherd.” Colter filmed a video to go along with the recording, which shows her playing her piano in an empty building.
As you watch Colter sing “The Lord is My Shepherd” above, it will only take seconds for you to be completely captivated by her voice. Her love for the song is evident in her performance, which is why it’s so stunning to witness.
There’s no denying it, Colter is truly one in a million.