Jenny Lou Carson

Induction Year: 1971

Birth Name: Virginia Lucille Overstake

Birth Date: 01-13-1915

Place of Birth: Decatur, Illinois

Death Date: 12-16-1978

Place of Death: Inglewood, California

Jenny Lou Carson first rose to national fame on the National Barn Dance over WLS radio in Chicago. Then billed under her real name, Lucille Overstake, she was a member of the Saturday night program's female harmony trio, the Three Little Maids, with her older sister Evelyn and younger sister Eva. Their earlier entertainment experience was reportedly as Salvation Army street singers and local radio performers in their Illinois hometown. They joined WLS in 1931 as teenagers. Lucille was the trio's guitarist and songwriter. She also sold songs to the station's cowgirl duo, the Girls of the Golden West. The Three Little Maids recorded for both the Conqueror and Bluebird labels in 1933.

The sister act broke up in 1935. Eva Overstake married WLS star Red Foley and later recorded as Judy Martin. Evelyn continued to star on WLS as a solo artist. Lucille became Winnie in the WLS trio Winnie, Lou & Sally. In 1939, she recorded as Lucille Lee on some risqué records ("Chiselin' Daddy") with the Sweet Violet Boys, better known as WLS stars the Prairie Ramblers. She reinvented herself as singing cowgirl Jenny Lou Carson later that year, and it was under this stage name that she became one of country music's pioneering female songwriters.

Carson recorded for Decca, Mercury and RCA Victor during the 1940s, introducing several self-penned songs that became big hits for others. She was mentored by songwriting great Fred Rose at this time in her career. Her biggest copyright became the 1955 pop-music smash "Let Me Go, Lover," but she also wrote huge country hits for Eddy Arnold, Tex Ritter, Hank Snow, Spade Cooley, Tex Williams, Ernest Tubb and other headliners.

During World War II, Jenny Lou Carson was billed as "Radio's Chin-Up Girl," spreading optimism and encouragement to servicemen, their families and, especially, handicapped shut-ins. She continued working as a country entertainer into the mid-1950s, then spent the last two decades of her life in retirement.


"A Pair of Broken Hearts"

(written with Fred Rose)

Spade Cooley1945 #8 country
Hank Snow & Anita Carter1962 
Sue Thompson1969 

"A Penny for Your Thoughts"

Jenny Lou Carson1946 
Sons of the Pioneers1947 
Wade Ray1954 
Cowboy Copas1962 
Willie Nelson1976  

"Ain'tcha Tired of Makin' Me Blue"

Tiny Hill1947 
Chet Atkins1947 

"Blues in My Heart"

(written with Red Foley)

Red Foley1949 #15 country
Jim Reeves1957 
Don Gibson1958 
Ferlin Husky1959 
The Browns1960 
Wanda Jackson1964 


(written with Eddy Arnold)

Eddy Arnold1949 #7 country
Ernest Tubb1950 
Perry Como1953 
Rosemary Clooney1953 
The Ames Brothers1957 
Kitty Wells1962 
Jim Reeves1963 
Hank Snow1967 
Ricky Van Shelton1989 
Bill Gaither1997 

"Chained to a Memory"

Eddy Arnold1946 #3 country
Jack Guthrie1946 
Skeeter Davis1960 
The Everly Brothers1966 
Jack Greene1969 

"Darling What More Can I Do"

Gene Autry1945 
Elton Britt1946 
Foy Willing1946 
Ernest Tubb1946 

"Don't Rob Another Man's Castle"

Eddy Arnold1949 #1 country, #23 pop
Ernest Tubb & the Andrews Sisters1949 #6 country
Al Morgan1949 
Tennessee Ernie Ford1964 
Brook Benton1964 
Don Gibson1969 

"Echo of Your Footsteps""

Eddy Arnold1949 #2 country

"Foolish Tears"

Tex Williams1948 
Ella Fitzgerald1948 
Al Morgan1949 
Spade Cooley1949 
The Four Knights1958  

"Give Me a Straight Shooting Cowboy"

Girls of the Golden West1938 

"I'd Trade All My Tomorrows"

Jenny Lou Carson1946 
Wesley Tuttle1946 
Elton Britt1946 
Eddy Arnold1952 #9 country
Justin Tubb1958 
Tex Williams1963 
Brook Benton1964 
Slim Whitman1965 
Merle Haggard1965 
Willie Nelson1966 
Mac Wiseman1982 

"If I Never Get to Heaven"

(written with Roy Botkin)

Eddy Arnold1953 
Billy Ward & His Dominos1953 
Al Martino1963 

"Jealous Heart"

Tex Ritter1945 #2 country
Jenny Lou Carson1945 
Ernest Tubb1945 
Al Morgan1949 #4 pop,#8 country
Kenny Roberts1949 #14 country
Ivory Joe Hunter1949 #2 R&B
Hugo Winterhalter1949 #10 pop
Jack Owens1949 #11 pop
Bill Lawrence1949 #14 pop
Jan Garber1949 #22 pop
Floyd Cramer1957 
Les Paul & Mary Ford1958 
Tab Hunter1958 #62 pop
Carl Butler1958 
The Fontane Sisters1958 #94 pop
Kitty Wells1960 
Patti Page1961 
Jean Shepard1962 
Al Martino1964 
Bing Crosby1965 
Connie Francis1965 #10 adult contemporary, #47 pop
Loretta Lynn1966 
The Mills Brothers1966 
Roy Acuff1969 
Johnny Rodriguez1973 
Marie Osmond1975 
Jerry Lee Lewis1977 
The Whites1978 
Barbara Seiner1979 #87 country
Dolly Parton1983 
Ray Price1987 
Willie Nelson & Jackie King2001 

"Keys to the Kingdom"

The Blackwood Brothers1952 
Red Foley1953 
The Christian Brothers1960 

"Let Me Go, Blubber"

(written with Al Hill)

Homer & Jethro1955 

"Let Me Go, Devil"

Wade Ray1953 
Johnny Bond1953 
Tex Ritter1953 

"Let Me Go, Lover"

(written with Al Hill)

Hank Snow1954 #1 country
Joan Weber1954 #1 pop
Teresa Brewer1954 #6 pop
Patti Page1954 #8 pop
Sunny Gale1955 #17 pop
Peggy Lee1955 
Jimmy Wakely1955 
June Carter1955 
Dean Martin1955 
Vern Lynn1955 
Ruby Murray1955 
Connie Francis1959 
Lawrence Welk1965 
Karen Kelly1970 #75 country

"Lonesome for You Annabelle"

(written with Red Foley)

The Prairie Ramblers1941 
The Pine Ridge Boys1941 
The Short Brothers1945 
Lawrence Welk1952 
Russ Morgan1956 

"Many Tears Ago"

Jenny Lou Carson1946 
The Prairie Ramblers1946 
Eddy Arnold1949 #10 country
Ray Price1957 
Al Martino1964 

"Marriage Vow""

Hank Snow1949 #10 country

"Never Trust a Woman "

Tex Williams1947 #2 country
Red Foley1947 #2 country
Bob Atcher1947 
Foy Willing1947 
Tiny Hill1948 #5 country
Phil Harris1948 

"One Little Teardrop Too Late"

Bob Atcher1946 
Tex Ritter1947 
Texas Jim Lewis1948 

"Shepherd of My Heart"

Eddy Arnold1952 
Johnny Cash1958 

"Someday Somewhere Sweetheart"

Red Foley1942 

"Texas Moon"

Girls of the Golden West1938 

"That's the Last Straw"

Wally Fowler1948 
Spade Cooley1948 

"The Lovebug Itch"

(written with Roy Botkin)

Eddy Arnold1950 #2 country
Ernest Tubb & Red Foley1950  
Tiny Hill1950 

"Will There Be Any Yodeling in Heaven"

Girls of the Golden West1938 

"You Two Timed Me One Time Too Often"

Tex Ritter1945 #1 country
The Hoosier Hot Shots1945 
Helen O'Connell1953 
Doc Watson1978 

Jenny Lou Carson

Induction Year: 1971