|Birth name||Ava Marlene Barber|
|Born||June 28, 1954|
|Origin||Knoxville, Tennessee, USA|
|Associated acts||Ralna English, Mary Lou Metzger, Gail Farrell|
|Website||Ava Barber Official Site|
She is also known as a recording artist, her best-known hit being the song, "Bucket to the South", which peaked at No. 13 on the Hot Country Songs list in 1978. She has done many reunion specials on PBS for The Lawrence Welk Show over the past number of years.
Early life and rise to fame
Ava Barber was born and reared in Knoxville, Tennessee. She grew up singing in her oldest brother's rock & roll band. Barber soon began listening to country music from listening to her father turning on the radio to a country music station every morning. Soon, every Saturday night, Barber would got to the radio station's "WNOX" auditorium, where the music show was performed. When she was 10 years old, Barber began singing professionally. By the time she was 14 she joined a country music television show, located in Knoxville. She soon began performing around the Knoxville area, and even recorded records for some local labels. Her mother was an avid fan of the popular television show at the time, The Lawrence Welk Show, and suggested that her daughter should write to him, because he always helped out young acts. Barber wrote to Welk in 1973, and he responded suggesting that if she ever was on the West Coast, she should perform on the show. About this same time, she married singer and musician Roger Sullivan.
Soon her husband made the call to the Lawrence Welk offices. Welk was actually in the office that day and suggested that they should meet him at a golf tournament. They met on the golf course, and in a small tent off the golf course Barber auditioned for his show (singing "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden", a hit by another Welk show alum, Lynn Anderson), and she was soon on the show by February 1974.
The Lawrence Welk Show and success as a country singer
Soon, Barber was hired as a regular on The Lawrence Welk Show, and found herself performing on his television series on the West Coast. At the same time, Barber was trying to get her country music career off the ground. Chart success didn't come initially, but she released her first charting single in 1977 with the song, "Waitin' At the End of Your Run", a truck-driving song. The song was only moderately successful, though, reaching only No. 70 on the country singles charts that year. Barber's 1978 release, "Bucket to the South", turned into a big country hit, peaking at No. 13 on the Hot Country Songs list in 1978, and reached No. 12 in Canada. Being a country singer brought her instant fame, and she soon appeared on many of its television shows, like Nashville Now, Crook & Chase, and made two appearances on the Grand Ole Opry as well.
Barber's success on the country charts tapered off after the success of "Bucket to the South"; she never had another Top 40 country hit. One song did come close though called "You're Gonna Love Love", which missed the Top 40, peaking at No. 44. She was soon off the country charts, until 1981, when she made a comeback with the single "I Think I Could Love You Better Than She Did". When The Lawrence Welk Show ended in 1982, Barber and her husband Roger returned to Knoxville, where they purchased their own bus and formed their own band, Sweet Apple. They toured the United States and Canada singing and performing.
Career in the 1990s and life today
In 1990, Barber and Sullivan went into business with Dick Dale and leased a theater located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which they operated until 1996. From 1997-2000, Barber worked at the Welk Theatre in Branson, Missouri. Since 2000, she has toured with members of The Lawrence Welk Show and performed on her own. She does reunion specials with previous members of the show on PBS. She is working on a new show in Branson called The Grand Ladies of Country Music. Her husband acts as her agent.
|1977||Country as Grits|
|1978||You're Gonna Love Love|
|US Country||CAN Country|
|1977||"Waitin' at the End of Your Run"||70||—||Country as Grits|
|"Your Love Is My Refuge"||92||—||You're Gonna Love Love|
|"Don't Take My Sunshine Away"||69||—|
|1978||"Bucket to the South"||13||12|
|"You're Gonna Love Love"||44||—|
|1981||"I Think I Could Love You Better Than She Did"||70||—|