26 I Years Ago: Deana Carter Debuts With ‘Did I Shave My Legs for This?’
Deana Carter's classic song "Strawberry Wine" wasn't yet a country chart-topper when she released her debut album, but it didn't take too much longer. Carter's Did I Shave My Legs for This? arrived in the United States on Sept. 3, 1996 — 26 years ago today — and by Thanksgiving that year, she was celebrating a multi-week No. 1 single.
Country music fans in the United Kingdom actually got to hear Carter's debut album first: The original version of Did I Shave My Legs for This? debuted in the UK in early 1995, via Patriot Records, a country music-focused label within the Capitol Records family. The label folded not long after, and Carter became a Capitol Records Nashville artist.
Only three of the songs on Carter's original, 12-track version of Did I Shave My Legs for This? appear on the 11-song U.S. version released about one year later. Among the new cuts was "Strawberry Wine," written by Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison. Several artists, including Trisha Yearwood, had passed on cutting the song, but in Carter's hands, it became a two-week No. 1 single and 1997's CMA Single of the Year; it also earned a Grammy and an ACM Awards nomination.
Carter followed "Strawberry Wine" with another chart-topper: "We Danced Anyway," also written by Berg, this time with Randy Scruggs. A third No. 1 single, "How Do I Get There" — co-written by Carter and Chris Farren — followed the Top 5 single "Count Me In," a Carter and Chuck Jones co-write. The album's final single, its title track, peaked at No. 25 on the country charts.
All told, Carter co-wrote six of Did I Shave My Legs for This?'s 11 songs. In addition to Berg, the album includes songs penned by Al Anderson and Craig Wiseman ("If This Is Love"), Stephony Smith ("That's How You Know It's Love") and Kim Carnes ("To the Other Side," a co-write with Greg Barnhill), among others. Dann Huff plays electric guitar on several songs.
Did I Shave My Legs for This? hit No. 2 on the country albums chart in the U.S. and No. 1 on the Canadian country albums chart; it also went to No. 10 on the all-genre Billboard 200. The record was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1997 CMA Awards, while Carter herself received Female Vocalist of the Year and Horizon Award (now New Artist of the Year) nods.
Carter followed Did I Shave My Legs for This? with 1998's Everything's Gonna Be Alright, though she never found the same chart success. Her most recent album is Southern Way of Life, released in 2013 on her own Little Nugget Records.
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