Billie Jo Spears Dies at 73

Scored her biggest hits in the 1970s.

photo courtesy Everett Collection

Billie Jo Spears, a popular singer in both the United States and the United Kingdom, died Dec. 14 at her home in Vidor, Texas, at the age of 73.

Billie Jo had five songs reach the Top 10 during her chart career, which covered the years 1968 to 1984. Her biggest hit, "Blanket on the Ground," hit No. 1 in 1975.

Born Billie Jean Spears in Beaumont, Texas, Jan. 14, 1937, she appeared on the popular Louisiana Hayride radio program at the age of 13 in 1950.

Billie Jo made her chart debut in 1968 with "He's Got More Love in His Little Finger." She went on to score several hits in the 1970s, with her last Top 10 coming in 1977 with "If You Want Me."

By the 1980s, her success in the United States began to wane but she retained a strong following in the United Kingdom, where she recorded albums and toured heavily.

Billie Jo recovered from triple bypass surgery in 1993 and continued to tour. She had made her home in Vidor for the past 10 years.

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