Margaret Louise Ebey "Margie Singleton" was born October 5, 1935 (her birth date is sometimes listed as October 12th) was born in Coushatta, Louisiana. As a young child, she was influenced by blues and gospel music. In 1949, at the age of 13, she married Shelby Singleton. They worked at a munitions plant near Shreveport, Louisiana during the Korean War. She began to play guitar and write songs as a teenager after the birth of her first child, Stephen Singleton, in 1950. She had her second son, Sidney Singleton, in 1955.
In 1957, she signed with Starday Records, and released her first single that same year called "One Step (Nearer To You)". The flip side of the single was called "Not What He's Got". Both of these songs were self-penned. In 1958, she made her radio and professional debut on Louisiana Hayride. That same year, she released another single called "Nothing But True Love", also written by Singleton. This single was more successful, becoming a minor hit on the country music chart, reaching the top 25. She was a member of the Louisiana Hayride before moving to Jubilee USA in 1960.
Singleton released another single in 1959 called "Eyes of Love". The song gave Singleton her first major hit when it reached the Top 20 in 1960. In 1961, she switched to Mercury Records where her husband Shelby Singleton was a producer. With his help, Singleton recorded a duet with George Jones called "Did I Ever Tell You". The song became another hit for Singleton, and was released in 1961. The following year, the duo had equal success together with another country hit called "Waltz of the Angels" and would record an album for the label titled "Duets Country Style".
Singleton continued to be an avid songwriter. She wrote a pop music hit for Brook Benton called "Lie to Me". In 1963, he had another pop hit with another song written by Singleton called "My True Confession". The year 1963 was also the year Singleton made her debut on country music's most coveted show, the Grand Ole Opry; and had another hit with the song "Old Records".
In addition to being a solo and duet star, she also sang as a back-up vocalist and formed M.S. Production Company wherein she arranged for the backup singers on many of the hits coming out of Nashville, and utilizing the talents of such groups as the Jordanaires and The Anita Kerr Singers. She also hand picked part of the Jordanaires along with herself calling themselves The Merry Melody Singers. She also sang the backup part on Leroy VanDyke's 1961 #1 hit "Just Walk On By". VanDyke would return the favor for Singleton's answer son "I'll Just Walk On By" in 1962.
Numerous performers recorded many of her songs, including Teresa Brewer, Tammy Wynette and Charley Pride. In 1964, Singleton teamed up with singer Faron Young. Together they recorded the song "Keeping Up with the Joneses". That year, the song reached the country top 5, and became Singleton's biggest hit. The flip side of the single, "No Thanks, I Just Had One", was a Top 40 country hit.
By 1965, Singleton was divorced from Shelby Singleton. That same year, she married Leon Ashley, and soon moved to United Artists Records. In 1967, she moved to her husband's label, Ashley Records. That year, she recorded a cover version of the Bobbie Gentry hit song "Ode to Billie Joe", which reached the country Top 40. She had a Top 60 duet with her husband called "Hangin' On" in 1968. That same year, she appeared in a movie with Marty Robbins called Road to Nashville. She also recorded the first version of "Harper Valley PTA" that was later a huge crossover hit for Jeannie C. Riley.
In 1972 her husband, Leon Ashley formed Country Music Spectacular Productions along with Linda Denny and Singleton. She continued to record on Ashley Records and toured throughout the United States, until her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2006. Their last concert was held in 2007 fronted by Lonnie Spiker, their long-time band leader. Their shows were produced by Linda Denny who managed Leon and Margie for over 40 years. Linda is the daughter of the late country music pioneer, Jim Denny. Leon Ashley wanted to give back to his home state of Georgia, so Leon, Margie, and their band ‘The Strings of Nashville’ performed many shows in senior citizen homes and nursing homes. The residents of these homes couldn’t travel to the shows, so they took the music to them. Sadly Leon lost his battle to cancer in October of 2013.
In 2016, at the age of 81, she released a gospel album. ‘On the Other Side of Life’ of which the title song she wrote about Leon’s passing.
A Highlight that Margie is so proud of in 2017, is the release of "George Jones, The Birth of a Legend" for Bear Family Records. It contains a 172 page Book on George Jones with 4 pages of pictures and bio information on Margie Singleton. It also contains 6 CD’s of George Jones; 14 of which are duets with Margie, 2 of which were previously unreleased.
In 2017, She performed at numerous Songwriter’s in the Round with Judy Bailey, Lonnie Spiker and Joe Rucker. She performed at Fay Cantzler’s Legends of Country Music, A benefit for Alzheimer’s, Country for a Cause, The Music City Hayride, The Midnight Jamboree, and the Heart of Texas Roadshow at the Texas Troubadour Theater. She has appeared as a guest on Marcia Campbell’s Overnight Radio Show and Nashville Today with Devon O’Day on WSM Radio.
She continues to play dates and enjoys writing. In 2019 she recorded and released a video for her self-penned song, "Heaven or Hell" and is currently writing and recording new gospel and country songs.
Some of Margie's awards:
Nashville Academy of Local Musicians Hall of Fame Inductee in 2017
Nashville Academy of Local Musicians Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017
Independent Country Music Hall of Fame 2017
NACMAI 2018 Hall of Fame Inductee (North America Country Music Associations International)
LA Music Video Awards 2018 Video Of The Year for "Jesus Is My Pusher"