When Texan temptress LeAnn Rimes first broke here at 13 with Blue she was aided by a little Hollyweird hype.

Now, with the singer making her second Australian tour at the age of 21, she has re-invented herself for both the international and local markets.

And it's déjà vu or blue with the huge success of Coyote Ugly movie.

But first back to the chart launch of Rimes, who released Blue after cutting her first indie albums at 8, 10 and 11.

The hucksters claimed the songwriter - Dallas-Fort Worth DJ Bill Mack - hung onto the song for 33 years.
When Curb Records sent Blue to radio it claimed legendary DJ and record promoter Mack wrote it for Patsy Cline in 1958.

But Patsy died at 30 in the famous March 5, 1963 plane crash before she had a chance to record it.
As the PR info would have it Mack held onto the song all these years, waiting until he found the right woman to sing it.

When he met Rimes, who was just 11, he reportedly decided she had the voice he'd been waiting for since 1963.

The tale was a masterful snow job delivered to the record company by Mack.
It was a much better yarn than the harsh cold reality - the song had five gallops before it was turned from blue to gold for Rimes.


Mack wrote Blue in 1958 and released it in 1964 on Starday Records - the same label that unleashed "Yodelling" Kenny Roberts version of the song in 1966.

Fort Worth lounge singer Polly Stevens and Roy Drusky released Blue before 1994 when Mildura yodeller Kathryn Pitt released it as a single here in the unlucky radio country.
Rimes, born in Jackson, Mississippi and raised in the Dallas suburb Garland, achieved greater success on the pop charts than Cline.

Her mainstream debut album Blue sold more than 123,000 units in its first week and has since sold four million.

It was the largest first week of sales for a new artist since Sound Scan started tracking across-the-counter sales figures by computer in May of 1991.

Rimes' sales were 30,000 units beyond first-week figures for Billy Ray Cyrus' Some Gave All, which came out just as Achy Breaky Heart was peaking in popularity.

And, now eight years down the lost highway, she has total sales exceeding 15 million and a swag of movies.


Hollywood hype is again helping sell Rimes overseas and here in the unlucky radio country.
She was just 15 when she starred in the ABC-TV movie 'Holidays In Your Heart' in 1997.
The same year she released her version of Dianne Warren song 'How Do I Live' - performed by Trisha Yearwood in the Con Air movie.

"It was all sort of interesting. Things come back full circle. It's business," Rimes said at the time.

Yearwood got the Grammy and Rimes got the sales.

Her version of How Do I Live sold 3 million copies and was on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for 69 consecutive weeks.

Irrespective of that genuine international success the marketeers have been forced to nail her to the crass crossover cross in the unlucky radio country.


LeAnn, who turned 21 on August 29, scored her big crossover break with 'Coyote Ugly' in which she performed live.

Rimes recorded four Dianne Warren penned songs Can't Fight The Moonlight, The Right Kind Of Wrong, But I Love You and Please Remember against doctor's orders to rest her voice.
Her determination then caused her to cancel a tour to repair her vocal cords.

Rimes had wanted to include Diane Warren's 'Please Remember' on her own album but Warren told her that producer Jerry Bruckheimer was using it for Coyote Ugly.

"So when I went over to Jerry and they didn't have anybody for the soundtrack yet, I'm like, 'I really, really would like to do this song,' and he said, 'OK,'" she said.

Leann reportedly split from actor fiance Andrew Keegan because he became involved with Coyote Ugly star Piper Perabo - who borrowed Rimes voice in the movie - on the set of 'Piece Of My Heart.'


Now it's new Reese Witherspoon movie Legally Blonde 2 which is the launch pad for new single We Can.

She also stars in baseball movie The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth.

And she and husband Dean Sheremet are collaborating on a series of children's books - the first is Jag.


It's not surprising the early success of Rimes was rough and rocky travelling.
In 1999 her mother Brenda split with her dad Wilbur - also her manager and record producer.

LeAnn sued her dad Wilbur and his business partner Lyle Walker for $14.3 million and they counter sued with some amazing claims.

Wilbur alleged LeAnn had an affair with fellow country singer Bryan White when she was 15.
He also alleged she was 16 when she moved in with actor Andrew Keegan, then 20, who was in TV series Party Of Five and the movie 10 Things I Hate About You.

Wilbur claimed he sprung LeAnn in bed with Keegan on her tour bus outside his home and that she wrecked a $350,000 Bentley and a $150,000 Ferrari.

But not all, of course, on the same stormy Dallas night.

LeAnn also sued her record label Curb after she claimed it released her sub standard eighth album 'I Need You' in 2000.

"The album was made without my creative input," Rimes wrote on her web site, "it consists largely of unfinished material and songs that didn't make other albums."

But Rimes didn't object when her embryonic indie recorded songs dominated her 1997 album 'Unchained Melody: The Early Years.'

Her Christian album 'You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs' came next and was followed by Sittin' On Top Of The World in 1998 and LeAnn Rimes in 1999.


"My baby gives me satisfaction/ a full time lover and full grown man," - 'My Baby' - Deborah Allen.

When LeAnn Rimes recorded adult songs such as My Baby, One Way Ticket, Blue and Hurt Me on her fourth album Blue at just 13 she had not acted the themes.

"If I did (live out the lyrics) I probably wouldn't be singing them," LeAnn, then 14, told me on the eve of her first Australian tour in 1997.

"I don't have to live anything to sing it. I know what the songs are about and if I love the song when I go into the studio I'm going to put all God into it to sing it. Just like an actor or an actress being interpreter of a script I'm an interpreter of a song."

But, now five years later, LeAnn has done a lot of living and has built on one co-write on Talk To Me on Blue to four originals on her 10th album Twisted Angel - we count the early indie discs and her Greatest Hits.

Rimes is latest in a large group of American country stars to record Tina Arena songs.
Fittingly the Arena song chosen was the divorce-fuelled anthem You Made Me Find Myself.
"Songwriting is therapy for me," Rimes has revealed, "having the life experiences I have behind me it's definitely easier for me to write my own music."

Rimes wrote Life Goes On, Wound Up, No Way Out and the title track of Twisted Angel with tunesmiths diverse as co-producers Desmond Child, Peter Amato and Gregg Pagani and hit writer Gary Burr - one of many singers for Pure Prairie League.

Life Goes On expresses Rimes desire to be free (from puppeteers and past lovers) - "wish I knew then what I know now/ you held all the cards and sold me out.'

And if that is not explicit enough she creates the character of "Little Carrie Ann" who is suicidal in Wound Up.

"She gets wound up, she gets higher by the minute/ turns the sound up to drown out all the pain."

The exorcism of sins and sinners is complete in No Way Out and You Made Me Find Myself which read like back chapters in Rimes cluttered career and personal life.


But not the sensual strut of Tic Toc, credited to Amato, Pagani and Christina Rumley.
Not sure if there is a video but here are some of the images - verse by verse.

"Come inside my walls of ecstasy with me/ close the door and throw away the key/ that's the way you can start by moving in nice and slow/ taking your time to move down low."
That's the entrée.

"Tic toc, you got the spot, here I come ready or not/ move with me, you get me so hot that I can't stop."

Then a bridge, but not over troubled waters.

"You opened up my world to paradise so nice/ feels so good my body liquefies."
And then there's the climax in the final verse.

"A little to the left, a little to the right/ a little bit longer, all the way tonight/ I close my eyes, my body tenses/ boy your touch hits all my senses."

And for those who would wish to deny Rimes, like Natalie Maines, her freedom of speech and the language of love.

"I thing it's time for people to let me grow up," she says, "it's not any racier than anything anyone else has put out. Actually it's pretty tame. I have grown up. I'm a real woman. I'm married, I'm embracing that."
And, of course, she is just interpreting the songs like she did on Blue.


Rimes and Keith Urban appeared on the ARIA awards as an entrée to their Victorian gig at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday October 28.

CLICK HERE for Tonk Girl's Gig Guide for full tour dates.

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