When Jeanne Pruett walked into Bradley Barn Recording Studios on December 29, 1972, to record her new album, she could not have known that one particular song recorded that day would catapult her career to a whole new level. Producer Walter Haynes had gathered Music Row’s “A team” of session musicians and selected the songs. One, “Satin Sheets, was written by a relatively unknown Minnesota native John “Jack” Volinkaty.

“I had great faith in Haynes that he would find good songs. Satin Sheets, I’d never heard, but I liked the lyrics and the melody, Pruett commented recently about that session.

There has always been a “mystique” on Music Row as to what turns a good song into a universal hit record and a forever classic country song. Jeanne Pruett was about to find out!

Producer/arranger Haynes, along with Grady Martin, Ray Edenton, Harold Bradley, Jerry Shook, Pete Wade, Bob Moore, Jerry Smith, and Buddy Harmon began working outthe arrangement for “Satin Sheets”. Haynes added background vocals The Jordanaires, Duane West, Winnifred Breast, Laverna Moore and Millie Kirkham.

Guitarist Grady Martin is incredible – he has the tone and touch, sometimes, of a blues musician; and Ray Edenton’s rhythm guitar is awesome!” Pruett said. “When the musicians kicked off that killer intro to Satin Sheets and Pruett’s powerhouse voice kicked in, it sent chills throughout the studio It’s that magic moment when everyone realizes we just cut a monster hit record!As I left Bradley Barn that day I knew thatSatin Sheets was going to make me a star!

“Satin Sheets” hit country radio February 1973. It topped the international country charts in May and stayed at No 1 for multiple weeks. It was a Top 30 crossover hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Since its release, “Satin Sheets” has become one of the greatest and most remembered Country records of all time. It has been featured on many Country Music albums and TV compilations. It is one of those records so uniquely described in the music industry as a “career-defining signature song. Pruett’s career hit a level she never dreamed could happen when this record went worldwide. It was the “CMA Top Country Record in 1973 and ultimately became one of Country Music’s all-time classic country songs!

Pruett was born Norma Jean Bowman in Pell City, Alabama, in 1935, one of 10 children. At a young age, she listened to the Grand Ole Opry, harmonized with her siblings and sang in high school music programs. After high school, she married childhood sweetheart Jack Pruett. In 1956, the couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Pruett’s husband was a guitarist, and joined legendary country artist Marty Robbins’s band. While Jack was on the road with Robbins’s band, Jeanne began writing songs.

In 1963, she started recording a lot of her own songs like “Count Me Out” for RCA Records, her first label. She also was appearing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. Pruett switched to Decca/MCA Records in 1969, and by 1972 she was hitting the Top 40 with her self-penned “Love Me” (later a big hit for Marty Robbins). Pruett was established as a songwriter, writing for Marty Robbins Publishing Co., and for artists Robbins, Tammy Wynette, Nat Stuckey and Conway Twitty. But her own recording, “Satin Sheets” was about to make Jeanne Pruett a household name!

In 1973, after the release of “Satin Sheets”, Pruett was a CMA nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Single of the year. Also in 1973, she was a Music City News nominee for Top Female Vocalist and nominee for Single of the Year.

That same year, Pruett was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.She was the sixty-third member of the Opry, and was the last female artist to join the Opry while it was located in the world-famous Ryman Auditorium, downtown Nashville.

Jeanne has always been an avid supporter of fellow-musicians and was instrumental in several artists being inducted into the Opry, namely, Ronnie Milsap, Don Williams, The Gatlins, Randy Travis, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent and Trisha Yearwood. She was also instrumental in creating the Performers Benefit Fund to help artists with life-expenses.

In addition to recording, Pruett was active in:

  • appearances with Bill Anderson on the ABC-TV soap operaOne Life to Live, as part of a country music storyline
  • hosted a cooking show on TNN (The Nashville Network) with radio host Ralph Emery, and was a regular for years on Emery’s television show Nashville Now.
  • author/publisher of four best-selling cookbooks in a series entitledFeedin’ Friends. She also had a successful restaurant of the same name in the Opryland USA theme park. During that period, she was WSM’s “Opryland Official Hostess”.
  • sheperformed regularly, in the 1980s, in a highly successful theatre in Branson, MO.
  • recently self-penned her autobiographical book entitled I Remember Miss Satin Sheets.

Jeanne Pruett and Jo Walker, Executive Director of the Country Music Association, went to Australia and established Country Music Association/Australia, which opened up a whole new area of the world to Country Music.

Pruett made headlines in 2006 when she announced she was retiring from the Grand Ole Opry and active touring. However, she has remained active behind the scenes in the music industry through music publishing and on a philanthropic level.

Jeanne Pruett, legendary Country Music pioneer, has definitely made her mark in the music business. This mother of two, Jack Jr. and Jael, is enjoying retirement on a sprawling ranch in Williamson County, Tennessee, which she bought along with husband Eddie Fulton, and maintains involvement with her many music industry friends. Jack Jr. had a successful music career in The Winters Brothers Band, sons of Don Winters who was a member of Marty Robbins’s band for many years.

Pruett will be inducted into the prestigious Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Tuscumbia, Alabama,on March 23, 2023. She was inducted into the Pell City Hall of Fame, Pell City, Alabama, (her hometown) on March 22, 2013,and will be inducted into the Museum of Pell City, Alabama, onMarch 3, 2023.

In July 2023, the Grand Ole Opry is honoring Pruett at the Opry House in Nashville with a “Celebration of Jeanne Pruett’s 50-year Anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Story by Areeda Schneider Stampley