K.T. Oslin Dead at 78
Singer and songwriter K.T. Oslin has died. The Grammy-, ACM- and CMA-winning hitmaker was best known for songs including "80s Ladies" and "Do Ya" but had many Top 10 hits during the late 1980s and early '90s.
Music Row was first to report Oslin's death at the age of 78, citing a years-long battle with Parkinson's disease and a more recent battle with COVID-19 as possible contributors to her passing. The industry trade magazine says Oslin had been living in an assisted-living facility since 2016 and died on Monday morning (Dec. 21). Her official cause of death has not yet been shared.
Oslin found country radio success remarkably late in life, as she was 45 years old when a trio of Top 10 country airplay hits pushed her into the mainstream spotlight. "I'll Always Come Back" followed "80s Ladies" and "Do Ya" as hit songs, and others such as "Money," "Hold Me" and "Hey Bobby" followed in 1988 and 1989.
Both the ACM and CMA Awards named Oslin the Top Female Vocalist in 1988, and she won a pair of Grammy Awards for "Hold Me" in 1989, which followed a Grammy win for "80s Ladies" the year prior. "Come Next Monday," Oslin's final No. 1 hit, earned two Grammy nominations in 1990.
Born Kay T. Oslin in Crossett, Ark., in 1942, Oslin focused on theater in New York City prior to giving Nashville a try, first in the early '80s. Those early forays didn't produce much commercial success, but her songs did get picked up by artists including the Judds and Dottie West, and she began to draw acclaim that would eventually lead her to sign with RCA Records several years later.
After her commercial career peaked in the early '90s, Oslin turned to acting and found roles on various television specials and movies, and — as Music Row points out — was a favorite on late-night talk shows. She intentionally slowed down around this time and had at least one major health scare in the 20 years before revealing her Parkinson's diagnosis in 2015.
A biography at All Music points out that Oslin underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1995 but recovered fully. She'd explore various types of music in the years to come, including Americana and disco; her last recording was a 2015 album on Red River records, called Simply.
Funeral arrangements for Oslin are unknown at this time.