Carol Lee Cooper (born 21 March 1942) is known as a long-time Grand Ole Opry background vocalist and leader of the Carol Lee Singers for 36 years.
As a child, she toured the country performing and showing her tremendous abilities as a singer and musician at an early age. At the age of 14, Carol Lee Cooper joined the Grand Ole Opry along with her parents, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, in 1957. This gives Carol Lee the unique distinction of being the youngest member ever to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Sherecorded with her famous parents on several of the trios' great classics such as, "Big Midnight Special", "Come Walk With Me", and “Loving You".
During these early years, Carol Lee performed as part of
a 40 day tour that crossed Canada featuring such legends as Hank Snow and the
Rainbow Ranch Boys, Cowboy Copas, Mother Maybelle Carter and Carol Lee's
parents, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper. They crossed the beautiful Canadian landscape
in a five car caravan for 40 straight days. When they arrived in Newfoundland,
they travelled by train.
|Carol Lee with Stoney & Wilma Lee|
In 1973, Carol Lee was approached by Opry Manager, E.W. (Bud) Wendell, to "temporarily provide the vocal group for the summer" while the Four Guys toured with Charlie Pride. This "temporary" job has turned into 36 years of the Carol Lee Singers being the vocal group for the Grand Ole Opry.
She invented a "System of Hand Signals" to convey the arrangements she does to the rest of her group on all the Opry shows, since there are basically no rehearsals. Mark McKuen of "CBS This Morning" did an interview with her about this "system."
Not only has Carol Lee been a mainstay of the Grand Ole Opry, she also has recorded on some of the greatest Country Classics of all-time. For 10 years, Carol Lee along with L.E. White, became an integral part of the Conway Twitty "trio" sound that was developed by Conway and Owen Bradley and is credited as the inspiration for the trio harmony so commonly heard on today's country recordings. These great #1 Hits include, "Linda On My Mind", "Hello, Darlin", "Never Been This Far Before", "This Time I've Hurt Her More", "There's A Honky Tonk Angel", and over 20 more #1 hits.
Multi-talented Carol Lee Cooper, known for landing 'interviews of a lifetime', hosted her own hour-long "Nashville Nights With Carol Lee" radio show on WSM from 1993 for several years. She has held exclusive interviews with such legends as Andy Griffith, Dolly Parton, Gene Autry and a rare two-hour with Garth Brooks.
During most of 2011 Carol Lee battled health and voice issues. She announced her retirement live on the Opry on March 24, 2012. The Carol Lee Singers’ other members, Norah Lee Allen, Rod Fletcher, and Dennis McCall, continue at the Opry as “The Opry Singers.”
(Info from various sources, mainly carolleecooper.com)