Judy Kay “Juice” Newton (born February 18, 1952) is an American pop and country singer, songwriter, and musician. To date, Newton has received five Grammy Award nominations in the Pop and Country Best Female Vocalist categories (winning once in 1983), as well as an ACM Award for Top New Female Artist and two Billboard Female Album Artist of the Year awards (won consecutively).
Newton has several Gold and Platinum records to her credit, including Juice, Quiet Lies and her first Greatest Hits album. During the 1980s, she charted 14 Top-10 hits across the Billboard Country, AC, and Billboard Hot 100 charts, with many of the recordings achieving crossover success and six of the songs hitting the No. 1 position.
In the early 1970s, Newton, Otha Young and Tom Kealey formed a band that would eventually be called Juice Newton & Silver Spur that was signed to RCA Records. The group released two albums for RCA in 1975 and 1976, and scored only one charting country single with “Love Is a Word.” The band was dropped by RCA then joined Capitol Records in 1977, but disbanded shortly after releasing just one more album. In late 1977, Newton went solo and continued to record for Capitol, although Silver Spur would remain the name of her backup band until 1982. That year, Newton provided backing vocals for Bob Welch’s platinum solo debut album on three tracks, including his hit “Ebony Eyes”. Later in 1977, “It’s a Heartache” became Newton’s first solo record and a major hit in Mexico, where it was eventually certified Gold. In 1978, Newton released the song in the United States, and it became the first of her 11 “Hot 100” pop hits. Also in 1978, The Carpenters’ version of the Newton/Young-penned song “Sweet, Sweet Smile” reached the Top 10 on both the Country and Adult Contemporary charts, and #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Newton’s solo debut album, Well Kept Secret, was released later in 1978 and stands as Newton’s most rock-oriented record, to date. Neither the record nor its sole single “Hey Baby” charted, though Capitol Records proceeded to renew Newton’s contract. Capitol’s investment in Newton began to pay off in 1979, when Newton had her first Top-40 Country hit with “Let’s Keep It That Way” (another one-off single). Later that year, the album Take Heart featured five modestly charting singles: “Until Tonight”; “Any Way That You Want Me”; “You Fill My Life”; “Lay Back In The Arms of Someone”; and “Sunshine.” The latter became Newton’s second top-40 single on the country charts in 1980, with “You Fill My Life” reaching No. 41 and “Until Tonight” reaching No. 42. Both of Newton’s initial solo efforts performed with modest success but failed to have lasting impacts on the album charts.
In 1981, Newton’s third solo album, simply titled Juice, was released. It spawned three consecutive Top-10 pop hits: a cover of the 1967 Merrilee Rush hit “Angel of the Morning” (written by Chip Taylor); “Queen of Hearts”; and an updated version of “The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)” (the original version appeared on the 1975 Silver Spur debut album), which earned Newton the first of several No. 1 Country singles. A fourth single, “Ride ‘Em Cowboy,” was lifted from Juice in 1984 to support Newton’s first Greatest Hits album and reached the Top 40 of the Country chart.
Juice sold more than a million copies in the United States and went Triple-Platinum (300,000 copies) in Canada. “Angel of the Morning” and “The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)” each reached No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, where Newton would chart regularly for the next several years. In 1982, Newton received two Grammy nominations for Best Female Vocalist: one for “Angel of the Morning” in the Pop category, and another for “Queen of Hearts” in Country.
These two singles became her biggest sellers in the United States, each earning an RIAA Gold certification. (Note: in 1981 and 1982, when these singles were certified, the RIAA standard for Gold singles was “more than 1 million copies sold”; in 1989, RIAA lowered the standard to 500,000 for Gold single certifications.) The songs were also sizable hits in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries. For example, “Angel of the Morning” peaked at No. 43 in the UK Singles Chart in May 1981. While “The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)” failed to receive a U.S. certification, the song’s popularity propelled album sales from Gold to Platinum, and the recording remained in the Top 40 (of the Hot 100) for 18 weeks
In the spring of 1982 Newton released her fourth solo album, Quiet Lies, which sold 900,000 copies in the United States. The album went platinum in Canada (100,000 copies). From Quiet Lies came the Top 10 Pop and Adult Contemporary hit “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me” (which garnered her another Pop Female Vocalist Grammy nomination). “Break It to Me Gently” was the second single and hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, #2 on the Billboard Country chart, as well as #9 in Cash Box and #11 on the Hot 100. The recording, a contemporary remake of a Brenda Lee hit from the ’60s, won Newton her first Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, beating out contemporaries Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris and Sylvia. The album’s third and final single, “Heart of the Night,” reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1983 and climbed to #25 on the Hot 100.
The album also garnered Newton an award from Australia as the “Top International Country Artist” for the continent. In 1982, Newton toured with country band Alabama on the “Salem Spirit” double-headliner tour. (Various acts opened for Newton and Alabama.)
The direction for Newton’s sixth and final Capitol album, 1983’s Dirty Looks, was decidedly more rock-oriented and experimental than her usual blending of folk, pop and country styles. The album spawned a moderate-sized hit with “Tell Her No” (Hot 100 No. 27/AC No. 14) and the title track, a rock-edged number that charted low in the Hot 100. The single “Stranger at My Door” had a brief run on the country charts. The album was a moderate success, selling more than 300,000 copies in the United States and going Gold in Canada (50,000 copies). (The song “Dirty Looks” was written by Dave Robbins and Van Stephenson, who would later become part of the Country group Blackhawk in the 1990s. The pair also wrote Newton’s 1984 country single “Restless Heart.”)
According to a 1984 front-page article in Billboard magazine, changes at Capitol led Newton to return to RCA. The 1984 album Can’t Wait All Night continued with a rock-oriented sound. The launch single, “A Little Love” and the title track became Newton’s final charting pop singles to date, reaching No. 44 and No. 66, respectively; while “Restless Heart” made No. 57 on the country chart. “A Little Love” became Newton’s seventh and final Top-10 hit on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, reaching the No. 7 spot. Newton’s final double-header “Salem Spirit” tour with Alabama took place during this time, with Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers as the opening act.
RCA Records 1985
Can´t Wait All Night
RCA Records 1984
Capitol Records 1983
Capitol Records 1982
Capitol Records 1979
Well Kept Secret
Capitol Records 1978