Mary Chapin Carpenter

Induction Year: 2012

Birth Name: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Birth Date: 02-21-1958

Place of Birth: Princeton, New Jersey

Mary Chapin Carpenter was an unlikely country hitmaker, but her songs proved to be enormously popular with country fans, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s.

Her father, Chapin Carpenter Jr., was an executive for Life magazine. Mary Chapin grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, but spent some formative years in Japan, where the magazine sent her father to open its Asian office. Eventually, the family settled in Washington, D.C.

From an early age, she was fascinated with music. "I grew up listening to all kinds of music," she wrote in an essay in Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music in America. "I particularly went for my older sister's Beatles and Mamas & the Papas records. My other older sister had Judy Collins records, which I enjoyed filching as well. I especially loved my Bob Dylan albums and records by the Band. . . . Country music was represented in our house by Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton."

Her mother gave Mary Chapin her first guitar. By the time she reached had her late teens, she was a regular performer in D.C. clubs.

After graduating from Brown University, she began strongly emphasizing her original songs in those D.C. venues. Her talent perked up ears in Nashville. The city's Columbia Records label signed her to a country recording contract in 1987.

In the 1990s, her folk-pop style was enthusiastically embraced by country radio. She won five country Grammy Awards and was named the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year in 1992 and 1993.

A string of gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums yielded a bounty of self-penned hits. Her songs have also been recorded by Joan Baez, Wynonna ("Girls with Guitars"), Cyndi Lauper, Terri Clark ("No Fear"), Dixie Chicks, Art Garfunkel, Maura O'Connell and Trisha Yearwood ("Where Are You Now"). In 2006, she signed with Rounder Records. She has since issued a series of critically applauded collections for its Zoe Records imprint.
 

"A Road Is Just a Road"

(written with John Jennings)

Mary Chapin Carpenter1987 
Dixie Chicks1992 
 

"Almost Home"

(written with Beth Nielsen Chapman, Annie Roboff)

Mary Chapin Carpenter1999 #22 country,#85 pop

"Down at the Twist and Shout"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1991 #2 country
 

"Girls with Guitars "

Wynonna1994 #10 country
 

"Going Out Tonight"

(written with John Jennings)

Mary Chapin Carpenter1991 #14 country

"He Thinks He'll Keep Her"

(written with Don Schlitz)

 

"House of Cards"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1995 #21 country
 

"How Do"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1989 #19 country

"I Feel Lucky"

(written with Don Schlitz, Tony Burrows)

Mary Chapin Carpenter1992 #4 country
 

"I Take My Chances"

(written with Don Schlitz)

Mary Chapin Carpenter1994 #2 country
 

"I Want to Be Your Girlfriend "

Mary Chapin Carpenter1997 #35 country
 

"It Don't Bring You"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1989 
Maura O'Connell1992 
 

"It's Only Love"

(written with Randy Scruggs)

Mary Chapin Carpenter & Randy Scruggs1998 #67 country
 

"Keeping the Faith"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1997 #58 country
 

"Let Me Into Your Heart"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1996 #11 country
 

"Never Had It So Good"

(written with John Jennings)

Mary Chapin Carpenter1989 #8 country
 

"No Fear"

(written with Terri Clark)

Terri Clark2001 #27 country
 

"Not Too Much to Ask"

(written with Don Schlitz)

Mary Chapin Carpenter & Joe Diffie1992 #15 country

"Shut Up and Kiss Me"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1994 #1 country,#90 pop
 

"Simple Life"

Mary Chapin Carpenter2001 #53 country
 

"Something of a Dreamer"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1990 #14 country
 

"Stones in the Road"

Joan Baez1992 
Mary Chapin Carpenter1994 
 

"Tender When I Want to Be"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1995 #6 country
 

"The Better to Dream of You"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1997 #64 country

"The Hard Way"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1993 #11 country
 

"The Moon and St. Christopher"

Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin1990  
Mary Black1995 
Simon Nicol1998 
 

"Where Are You Now"

(written with Kim Richey)

Trisha Yearwood2000 #45 country
 

"Wherever You Are"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1999 #55 country
 

"Why Walk When You Can Fly"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1995 #45 country
 

"You Win Again"

Mary Chapin Carpenter1990 #16 country

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Induction Year: 2012