Judy Kay Newton was born in New Jersey and also spent time in Virginia before moving to California, where she began singing folk music in coffeehouses. She met up with singer/songwriter and guitarist Otha Young and the two of them began playing and writing songs together. A few more musicians were added to the group and they formed the band Dixie Peach which later became Juice Newton and the Silver Spur.
The band recorded two albums for RCA Records and one album for Capitol Records in 1976-1978. When the best the group could do was one barely charting Country single, they disbanded. Juice continued on to a solo career with Otha helping out. Her first successful solo single was It’s A Heartache. She had recorded the song in 1977, and when it was released that year in Mexico, it became a major hit and earned a gold record there. A week after Bonnie Tyler released a cover of the song in 1978, Juice’s single was issued in the US. Bonnie’s version reached #3 on the Hot 100 while Juice’s version only reached #86.
Juice and Otha then co-wrote the Carpenters’ song Sweet Sweet Smile. That single reached the top ten of the Country chart in 1978 but only got as high as #44 on the Hot 100.
Juice began to focus on more Country-sounding music and had six minor hits on the Country chart in the next two years. When she returned to a more pop-country sound with her next album in 1981 her career caught fire: that album (Juice) went platinum and she also had four top ten singles on the Hot 100. Three of her next five singles went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart and one of those also reached the top of the Country chart.
In 1983, she tried to return to a more rock-oriented sound with the album Dirty Looks, and her career came to a screeching halt. The first single from the album was a cover of the 1964 Zombies hit Tell Her No and it only reached #27 on the Hot 100.
Juice changed the lyrics to the song slightly. Instead of being the Zombies’ plea to stop another man from courting the singer’s girlfriend, the song became a plea from a girl to her boyfriend to avoid straying.
More importantly, the song wasn’t the least bit a Country record; it was the first charting record Juice recorded that failed to reach the Country charts at all since It’s A Heartache. It took her a few years to convince Country radio to play her music again, and that came at the cost of losing all her success on the pop chart: beginning in 1985, she had three number one Country singles and three more Country top ten singles…and none of those singles reached the Hot 100.
Juice recorded her last new album in 2010 but has continued to appear in public. She is currently taking a hiatus from touring.
Her official website is at https://www.juicenewton.net/.