In Ohio, West began appearing on the TV program Landmark Jamboree as one half of a country-pop vocal duo called the Kay-Dots along with Kathy Dee. Her career really got started in 1959 when she went back to Nashville for an audition for Starday’s Don Pierce and was immediately offered a contract. She produced a few singles, but none were successful enough to put her on the map to becoming a big name in country music. She and her husband fell in love with a group of aspiring songwriters such as Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, and Harlan Howard.
West earned her first Top 40 hit in 1963 with “Let Me Off at the Corner.” One year later, her hit “Love Is No Excuse,” a duet with Jim Reeves, made it to the Top 10. She won her first Grammy Award with the song “Here Comes My Baby”. This song made her the first female country artist to win a Grammy. In 1965, she would release her biggest hit yet, “Would You Hold It Against Me.”
She eventually teamed up with Don Gibson, for a few duets in 1968. She eventually left her first husband and married drummer Bryan Metcalf in 1972. She immediately began to change her image and began to wear far less conservative attire. Her career was gaining momentum after the 1973 success of the crossover smash “Country Sunshine,” originally written for a Coca-Cola commercial.
Over the next few years, West had many Top 40 songs, such as “Last Time I Saw Him,” “When It’s Just You and Me,” and “Tonight You Belong To Me.” She released a duet of “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” a duet with Kenny Rogers, in 1977 and the single hit number one. She hit another couple number ones with her singles “A Lesson in Leavin” and “Are You Happy Baby?”