Who is Jeannie Seely?

Marilyn Jeanne Seely, an American country music singer, songwriter, and record producer, has made significant contributions to the industry. Born on July 6, 1940, in northwestern Pennsylvania, she developed a passion for country music at an early age and began performing on local radio and television stations. After working at a local bank, Seely relocated to southern California, where she reconnected with country music and started writing songs for Imperial Records. Her talent as a songwriter gained recognition, and many of her compositions were recorded by other artists.

In 1965, Seely signed a recording contract with Challenge Records and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue her musical career. Her breakthrough came with the release of “Don’t Touch Me” on Monument Records in 1966. The song became a Grammy Award-winning hit, reaching the No. 2 position on the Billboard country songs chart, and earned her the nickname “Miss Country Soul” due to her soulful vocal delivery. Seely’s success continued with several more hits, including “A Wanderin’ Man” (1967) and “I’ll Love You More (Than You’ll Need)” (1968).

During the late 1960s, Seely collaborated with Jack Greene, touring together and recording duets. One of their notable singles was “Wish I Didn’t Have to Miss You” (1970). Seely also achieved solo success during this time with songs like “Can I Sleep in Your Arms” (1973) and “Lucky Ladies” (1974). In 1977, her career was interrupted by a severe automobile accident, but with the support of others, she made a comeback. Seely expanded her artistic endeavors by appearing in the film “Honeysuckle Rose” with Willie Nelson, acting in stage plays, and hosting the Grand Ole Opry, becoming the first female artist to do so. She also released her book, “Pieces of a Puzzled Mind.”

In the 1990s, Seely returned to recording albums, starting with her self-titled release in 1990 and followed by a holiday album titled “Number One Christmas” in 1994. In 1999, she released “Been There…Sung That!” featuring duets with various artists. Seely continued to explore her musical versatility, blending bluegrass with traditional country music in her 2003 studio album, “Life’s Highway.” Her most recent studio release is “An American Classic” (2020) on Curb Records. Throughout her career, Seely has maintained a consistent presence on the Grand Ole Opry, where she has made over 5,000 appearances, the most by any performer. She has also hosted a weekly radio program on Sirius XM. Marilyn Jeanne Seely remains a respected figure in the country music industry with her enduring talent and contributions.


Jeannie Seely would be 83 years old this year.


Wednesday, 30th January 2019 Jeannie Seely, country music royalty and 51-year member of the Grand Ole Opry, and her husband, Gene Ward, celebrated Gene’s recovery over the last year by renewing their wedding vows at the Renewal of Vows Ceremony aboard the Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam ship Country Music Cruise.


Jeannie Seely has one daughter names, Booth Cochran.

Early Life

Marilyn Jeanne Seely was born on July 6, 1940, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. However, she was raised in the nearby town of Townville. She grew up in a musical family, with her father working as a farmer and playing the banjo at local square dances. Her mother, a homemaker, also enjoyed singing while cooking. Seely developed a love for country music at a young age, often listening to the Grand Ole Opry with her family on Saturday nights and attending country music shows at a local venue called Hillbilly Park.

At the age of 11, Seely began performing on a local radio station in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where she had to stand on wooden containers due to her short height and the lack of adjustable microphones. By the time she was 16, she became a regular performer on a local television station in Erie, Pennsylvania. Despite facing ridicule from her high school peers for choosing to sing country music, Seely remained passionate about her musical aspirations.

After graduating from Townville High School at the age of 18, Seely decided not to attend college. Instead, she took a job as a stenographer at the Titusville Trust Company, eventually being promoted to a secretarial position. While working, she enrolled in night classes at the American Institute of Banking, gaining knowledge in finance and law that would later prove valuable in her music career.

Seely’s frustration with the harsh Pennsylvania winters and a challenging experience getting caught in a snow bank led her to make a life-changing decision. She decided it was time for a change and embarked on a new journey in pursuit of her musical dreams.

American country music singer who won a Grammy Award for her 1966 song “Don’t Touch Me.” She also released hits like the # 6 single “Can I Sleep in Your Arms. “.

Before Famous

She was born the youngest in a family of four to musician parents and appeared on WICU television when she was sixteen. After graduating, she worked in a bank and as a secretary.


She made a cameo appearance in the 2003 film Changing Hearts with Faye Dunaway.

Family life

She was once married to songwriter Hank Cochran, but the marriage ended and she later married lawyer Gene Ward in 2010.


She wrote compositions recorded by Dottie West.

Information about Jeannie Seely

  • Pennsylvania Country Musicians
  • Challenge Records artists
  • Monument Records artists
  • Members of Grand Ole Opry
  • Mca record artists
  • Pennsylvania songwriters
  • Decca Records Artists
  • American country singers


Jeannie Seely is a country music artist known for her successful career as a singer and songwriter. She began her music career in the early 1960s in California, where she worked as a songwriter and recorded some singles. Encouraged by fellow artists Dottie West and Hank Cochran, she moved to Nashville in 1965 and signed with Monument Records. Her breakthrough came with the release of the single “Don’t Touch Me” in 1966, which became a major hit and won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. She also became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1967. Seely continued to have success with hits like “It’s Only Love” and “A Wanderin’ Man.” In 1969, she moved to Decca Records and collaborated with Jack Greene, releasing several duets and touring together. Seely’s solo career had some ups and downs in the 1970s, but she had hits with songs like “Can I Sleep in Your Arms” and “Lucky Ladies.” In 1977, she was involved in a car accident but recovered and returned to performing. Seely faced career obstacles in the following years, with fewer recording opportunities and concert engagements. However, she continued to work in the music industry, collaborating with artists like Willie Nelson and opening her own nightclub. Throughout her career, Seely remained an influential figure in country music and a respected member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Personal Life

Jeannie Seely, a prominent country music artist, had an eventful personal life. She was initially married to Hank Cochran, a songwriter who wrote many of her biggest hits. Seely admired Cochran’s songwriting talent and his significant contributions to the country music community. Despite their separation several years prior, they maintained a friendly relationship after officially filing for divorce in 1981. Unfortunately, Cochran passed away from cancer in 2010.

In 2010, Seely entered her second marriage with Gene Ward, a Nashville attorney. The couple resided together in a home near the Cumberland River in Nashville. In 2018, Seely had to cancel several engagements due to Ward falling ill. She provided updates about his condition on social media, expressing her concern and sharing the progress of his recovery. Thankfully, Ward recuperated, and in 2019, Seely and Ward renewed their wedding vows during a country music cruise. Seely mentioned that one of the reasons for the renewal was to give her fans the opportunity to see Ward looking dashing in his suit.

Tragedy struck in 2010 when Seely’s home was destroyed in the Tennessee floods. With three feet of water damaging the interior, Seely and her husband fled in a pickup truck, leaving behind their valuables. Despite the loss, Seely maintained a positive outlook, choosing to focus on the recovery process. She expressed gratitude for the help of local volunteers, particularly a group of young people from Hardin Valley, who played a significant role in rebuilding her home.

On July 4th, 2022, Jeannie Seely and Eugene (Gene) Ward served as Grand Marshals in the annual parade in Ward’s hometown of White Pine, Tennessee. This recognition showcased their connection to the local community and their contribution to the music industry.

In September 2022, Seely celebrated her remarkable 55th anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry. She reminisced about her early years on the show when cast members were required to appear in at least half of the Opry’s shows annually. Even after the rules were relaxed, Seely remained loyal and maintained a more frequent performance schedule, resulting in a record number of appearances on the program.


Born: Marilyn Jeanne Seely, July 06, 1940, Titusville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, producer, actress, author
Years active: 1962–present
Home town: Townville, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Jeannie Seely, also known as “Miss Country Soul,” emerged as one of the leading female singers during the late 1960s and early 1970s. She gained recognition for her powerful voice, heartfelt performances, and witty remarks on stage, which showcased her independent and nonconformist spirit. Seely, with her petite figure and blonde hair, grew up in a musical household where her father played the banjo and her mother sang while they baked bread together. She began her singing career on local radio and television stations in her hometown of Titusville, Pennsylvania.

At the age of 21, Seely moved to Los Angeles with three friends, where she worked as a radio deejay for Armed Forces Radio Network. During her time in Los Angeles, she also wrote songs for Four Star Music, with artists like Dottie West and Connie Smith performing her compositions. Seely made appearances on the country television show “Hollywood Jamboree” and recorded for Challenge Records. It was songwriter Hank Cochran who encouraged her to bring her talents to Nashville, and in 1965, she made a spontaneous decision to move there with only $50 and a Ford Falcon. Upon her arrival, Seely approached Cochran and boldly asked if he still wanted to work with her. Monument Records signed her, and she recorded her breakthrough hit, “Don’t Touch Me,” written by Cochran. The song quickly climbed the country charts, reaching No. 2 and earning Seely a Grammy Award in 1966. This success marked the beginning of a string of hits for Seely throughout the late 1970s. Notably, she achieved the rare feat of having No. 1 hits as a soloist, a duet partner, and a songwriter. “Don’t Touch Me” has since become a country music standard.

Seely unintentionally became a trailblazer for women in country music during her time. Historians Mary Bufwack and Robert Oermann described her as the woman who shattered the Grand Ole Opry’s traditional image when she appeared on stage in a miniskirt, a fashion choice that Seely saw as simply following the trends of the 1960s. She embodied a thoroughly modern female persona, which resonated with audiences and made her one of the most progressive figures in country music.

Seely acknowledges the influence of the Women’s Liberation movement during that era, not only in the entertainment industry but also behind the scenes, where more women were taking on prominent roles in the business. She recognizes the importance of women asserting themselves, both as artists and as representatives of the women in their audience. Seely believes that country music reflects the lives of its listeners and that women could no longer tolerate being treated as doormats. She embraced the changing times and contributed to the evolving role of women in country music.

Jeannie Seely was born on July 6, 1940, in Titusville, Pennsylvania.