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Rewinding the Country Charts: In 1996, LeAnn Rimes Arrived Out of the 'Blue'

LeAnn Rimes
Acey Harper/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

LeAnn Rimes photographed in 1996.

The singer, then just 13, began a 28-week run at No. 1 on Top Country Albums.

On July 27, 1996, LeAnn Rimes' Curb Records debut, Blue, bowed atop Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The set would reign for a whopping 28 weeks.

Then only 13, Rimes launched as the rare teen country star, her likes not seen at the time since Tanya Tucker made her initial splash with "Delta Dawn" in 1972, also at 13.

Blue's title-track lead single revived the composition by Bill Mack, who had released his version as a single in 1958. Rimes' renewal hit No. 10 on Hot Country Songs and sparked her two Grammy Award wins in 1997: best new artist and best female country vocal performance (for "Blue").

In the Billboard issue that Blue debuted, Curb founder and chairman Mike Curb marveled that records like Blue "come along once in a lifetime."

Blue has sold 6 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Music, while Rimes, now 33, has notched five Top Country Albums No. 1s and 12 Hot Country Songs top 10s. Following her run on Curb, Rimes has inked a new deal with the RCA Label Group in the U.K.

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