Every Saturday morning I invite you to join me for the Solid Gold Saturday Morning Show exclusive to B105. I make sure we get your faves from years ago on to conjure memories and bring you back to the roots of Country Music. I want to highlight some of our Country legends and the songs that help steer country music to where it is today. This week belongs to the late Dottie West.

She was born Dorothy Marie Marsh and was the oldest of 10 children.  She lived in a rural setting and her family was so poor they lacked electricity and indoor plumbing and had to make their own soap out of hog grease and lye.

Her childhood was marred by a dysfunctional relationship with her father, an alcoholic who abused her both physically and sexually. The abuse continued until she was 17, when she finally reported him to the local sheriff. She testified against her father in court, and he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Musically, she joined her high school band, "The Cookskins," where she sang and played guitar. With the help of her mother's business and a local entrepreneur, she attained a music scholarship to attend college at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee in 1951.

Dottie made numerous trips to Nashville in the hopes of landing a recording deal. In 1959, she was offered her first contract.  She eventually became involved with a group of aspiring songwriters, including Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, and Hank Cochran. She also became close friends with groundbreaking female country singer Patsy Cline. They had met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and became friends; Cline would become one of West's biggest career inspirations.

When Cline got into a car accident in June 1961, West was one of the first people to arrive on the scene, picking out a piece of glass from Cline's hair. Little did Dottie know that she too would die as the result of a car crash.

On August 30, 1991, West was scheduled to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. Shortly after leaving her apartment in Nashville her car stalled. Her 81-year-old neighbor, George Thackston, offered to drive her to the Opry for her scheduled appearance. Frantic about getting to the Opry on time, she had urged him to speed.

He lost control of his vehicle while exiting at the Opryland exit, went airborne and struck the central division. West did not believe she was injured as badly as her neighbor and insisted he be treated first. Dottie thought she was unharmed, but, had actually suffered severe internal injuries like a ruptured spleen and a lacerated liver. Her spleen was removed that Friday and, the following Monday, she underwent two more surgeries to stop her liver from bleeding; these ultimately failed in that effort. On September 4, 1991, during her third operation, West died on the operating table at 9:43 a.m., at the age of 58.

If you visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville this Spring, you'll see an exhibit of Dottie and might be able to catch three special programs remembering her.

Info via: wikipedia/youtube