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Donna Fargo

An important crossover artist in the early 1970s, Donna Fargo began her string of hits with her chart-topping, self-penned signature tune, “Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.,” followed by the #1 hits “Funny Face” and “Superman,” also original compositions.

Birth: November 10, 1945
Birthplace: Mount Airy, North Carolina

Born Yvonne Vaughn and raised on her father’s North Carolina tobacco farm, she moved to a Los Angeles suburb after college and taught high school English courses. There, the budding artist met local record producer Stan Silver (whom she married in 1969), learned to play the guitar, and began writing songs.

Through publisher Don Sessions and disc jockey Biff Collie, she met Floyd Ramsey, owner of Phoenix-based Ramco Records, for whom she recorded her first single, “Would You Believe,” using the stage name Donna Fargo. After a second Ramco single she moved to Los Angeles-based Challenge Records for “Daddy.” The Silvers financed the Nashville session (produced by Silver) that generated “Happiest Girl.” Picked up by Dot Records, it won a Grammy and became the CMA’S 1972 Single of the Year. It was also the first of thirty-eight Fargo singles—six of them #ls—to make Billboard’s country chart on the Dot, ABC/Dot, Warner Bros., RCA, Columbia, Mercury, and Cleveland International labels between 1972 and 1991.

Fargo composed and published most of her hit material. The syndicated Donna Fargo Show television variety series aired during the 1978-79 season. Fargo was stricken with multiple sclerosis in 1979, and, although the disease is currently in remission, it caused a serious setback in her performing and recording career. — Todd Everett

— Adapted from the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s Encyclopedia of Country Music, published by Oxford University Press.

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