For over thirty years, Cristy Lane’s award-winning music and inspirational life story have brought joy to the hearts of people around the world. Her 1979 hit country single “One Day at a Time” and her biography by the same name were both #1 sellers. Due to the overwhelming success of her book, which sold over one million copies, as well as demand for more Cristy Lane, a movie about her inspiring life is now in the making!
Cristy Lane was born Eleanor Johnston to a family of twelve in Peoria, IL. Married to Lee Stoller before she was 20 years old, Lane had three children by 1964. Her husband heard her singing in the kitchen one day and encouraged her to sing professionally. Unfortunately, Lane was painfully shy. After a few tentative attempts and several nightclub appearances, she finally landed a guest slot on Chicago’s WGN Barn Dance radio program in 1968. Chicago proved to be inspirational, as it was from Chicago DJ Chris Lane that she took her famous stage name.
However, several early attempts to break into Nashville’s country music world ended in disappointment, and Lane was struggling with the pressures of the performing career her husband was urging upon her. In 1969, Stoller organized a 120-show tour of Vietnam which resulted in a devastating helicopter crash, leaving Lane stranded in the midst of a battle. After her harrowing experiences in Vietnam, Lane lost all hope of a jet-setting music career. She and her husband returned to Peoria and opened a pair of nightclubs featuring Lane as the marquee attraction.
By 1972, Lane and her family had moved to a Nashville suburb to attempt once more to get her career off the ground. Lane was largely met with indifference from label executives, prompting her husband to form his own label, LS Records, in the mid-1970s. By 1978, Lane had made the Top Ten with “Let Me Down Easy,” which was followed by five more hits including “Shake Me, I Rattle,” the most-requested song throughout the nation, “Penny Arcade,” “I Just Can’t Stay Married to You,” and “Simple Little Words.” The following year, Lane released three more hits and received the award for New Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 1979. Only a few months later, Lane was signed to United Artists Records. Much to Lane and Stoller’s surprise, the label balked at the idea of releasing “One Day at a Time” as her next single. For country radio in 1980, the gospel song was quite unorthodox, but Lane and Stoller correctly foresaw its success—“One Day at a Time” went gold.
The following years were very successful for Lane, and she experienced many firsts. TV marketing of her albums had made her one of the top selling artists of all time on television. Even though she did not advertise in India, Lane was spotlighted by EMI in 1984 as their top selling artist, surpassing David Bowie, Tina Turner, Sheena Easton and the Rolling Stones. In 1985, Stoller and Chaney penned her biography and attempted to get it published worldwide. Continually turned down with the same rationale—“Biographies just don’t sell”—Stoller took it upon himself to publish the biography independently. The book’s reception among the public was loud and clear: they loved it! One Day at a Time became a #1 best seller, with over one million copies sold around the world.
By the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Branson had emerged as a major entertainment destination, and the Cristy Lane Theatre became a popular attraction. The theatre not only hosted Lane’s own performances, but also those of Branson stars such as Ray Price, Ferlin Husky and Peter Lemongello. Even after Lane’s theatre was leased out in the mid-1990s, she remained a #1 selling artist. In 2000, she received an award for her television and print ad success and went on to release another million-selling album called “The Man from Galilee” just two years later.
However, it was in 2003 that Lane received what she considered to be the greatest honor of her lifetime: the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall of Fame Award. The award was given in special recognition of the joy and comfort her performances brought to military bases at home and abroad as well as her lifelong commitment to supporting our troops.
Cristy Lane’s drive to bring comfort to others through her music extended beyond the military as well. In 2005, Lane released an album following the devastating Sri Lanka tsunami from which all proceeds were donated to Tsunami Victims Fund. In a similar act of generosity, Lane’s “19 Classic Hymns” album was released in China from which a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Earthquake Victims Fund in 2008.
Lane’s latest musical release was in 2012 which included a TV album and video called “I’m With You Tonight,” which can be viewed right here on her website! For more about Cristy Lane’s inspiring life and successful music career, read One Day at a Time and stay tuned for the upcoming release of One Day at a Time, the movie! The official script was completed August 1st of this year, and production will be underway shortly. You won’t want to miss Cristy Lane’s amazing rags-to-riches story finally come alive on film!
©2013 Rachel Stoller
Contact Us: e-mail CristyLane@comcast.net or
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