Patsy Montana, whose yodeling-cowgirl songs made her a pioneer in country music, died Friday at her home. She was 81.
Montana had her biggest hit, “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” in 1935, the first million-selling hit for a female country singer. It brought an assertive female voice to country music, as she announced her readiness to “rope and ride” and sang whooping high notes. Montana remained active for a career that lasted six decades.
Her hits included “Shy Anne from Old Cheyenne,” “The She Buckaroo,” “Rodeo Sweetheart” and “I Wanna Be a Western Cowgirl.” In 1939, she appeared with Gene Autry in the movie “Colorado Sunset.”