Betty Cody, country music legend

A story from 1930s-2014

Betty Cody circa 1985

Betty Cody, circa 1950

Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Rita Cote’s (1921-2014) Franco parents moved to Auburn when she was nine months old. Cote was bilingual, speaking both French and English when she started her radio and recording career at age sixteen. Changing her name to Betty Cody and marrying Hal Lone Pine, Cote’s singing range and distinctive yodel made her a favorite on the US and Canadian radio circuit, and led to a solo RCA recording contract.

Cody’s 1953 single I Found Out More Than You Ever Knew reached number ten on the Billboard country chart. Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker tried to sign her, but she did not want to leave her children while on tour. Cody chose to put music aside and raise her sons in Lewiston, supporting them with a shoe factory job.

The Maine Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Cody in 1979, noting her as Maine’s most recognized female singer. Cody performed for ten years at Poland Spring Inn in her fifties, recorded Hopeless Woman with her sons Lenny Breau and Denny, Breau and sang often with Denny on stage.

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