When country singer/songwriter Mel McDaniel moved to Alaska early in his career, he’d already picked up a lot of performing experience and had even made several records for a regional label in his home state of Oklahoma. But after trying his luck in Nashville and finding marginal success, he’d decided he needed a change of scenery. He found it in Alaska, where he honed his craft while entertaining in nightspots around the oil fields, and when he finally returned to Nashville he was ready. For the next decade and a half he was one of the most popular country stars around, with a slew of Top Ten records that included his Grammy-nominated 1984 chart-topper “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.”
McDaniel grew up near Tulsa, and it was there that he first began pursuing a music career, a decision he’d made as a young teen when he first saw Elvis Presley. But even though he managed to build a little momentum in his home area, he was disappointed by the results when he took himself to Nashville. After a couple of years he went North to Alaska and when he returned he soon found a lot more things going his way.
By the late 1970s, McDaniel had not only exhibited his songwriting skills but also began to show up regularly on the record charts, flirting with the Top Ten on a couple of records. In the early 1980s he broke through with “Louisiana Saturday Night” and continued to spin out good sellers like “Big Old Brew” and “I Call It Love,” finally topping the charts with his big hit, “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.”
McDaniel’s music was for the most part not filled with the mournful tear-jerkers so common in country music, but rather joyful and lively songs that brought a smile to listeners. He continued to generate lots of good selling records until the late 1980s, when things slowed down a little but he continued to perform and occasionally tour. A mid-1990s accident led to several surgeries and he later suffered a heart attack, but he eventually recovered well enough to still entertain his fans from time to time. He was 68 when he died in 2011.
Mel McDaniel – “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On”