Barbara Mandrell officially retired from country music in 1997. However, she performs occasionally for special events such as the annual Unleashed fundraiser for the National Humane Association, where Mandrell and her sisters performed in January 2015.
A traumatic event was the main catalyst for Mandrell's retirement. On Sept. 11, 1984, Mandrell was in a near-fatal head-on car collision that left her with broken bones, lacerations and memory loss. Mandrell's children were in the car at the time, but their buckled seat belts prevented them from sustaining severe injuries.
Mandrell underwent a year of medical rehabilitation. In the ensuing years, she reassessed her priorities and decided to focus solely on herself and her family.
Prior to her accident, Mandrell's musical career spanned 25 years. Her first professional gig was as a steel guitar player for Joe Maphis in his Las Vegs show when she was 11 years old. The next year, Mandrell went on tour with Johnny Cash.
Mandrell soon taught herself to play the banjo and the Dobro. After touring with Cash, Mandrell's father formed a family band, the Mandrell Family Band. Mandrell played pedal steel and saxophone in the band. Her sisters sang backup, her mother played bass, and her father played guitar and sang the lead.
By the time she retired in 1997, Mandrell had recorded 30 albums, won more than 75 major awards and hosted her own television variety show. The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted her into its ranks in 2009.