Deborah Allen was born in Memphis and competed in beauty contests as a teenager. When she turned 19, she moved to Nashville and pursued a singing career. She met Roy Orbison while working at an IHOP, and he hired her to sing backup vocals on several of his recordings. She also found work singing at Opryland.
Deborah got her first big break when Jim Stafford had his own summer replacement television show for six weeks in 1975. She sang songs regularly on the show. She also became an opening act for Jim while he was touring, but eventually returned to Nashville to pursue her career there.
Jim Reeves had died in 1964 and left behind several unfinished tracks. Producer Bud Logan heard Deborah singing at a party and offered to have her sing on five of the unfinished duets. He finished producing the songs and released three of them as singles. All three made it to the Country Top Ten in 1979 and 1980. Oh How I Miss You Tonight featured Deborah as the singer with Jim singing backup vocals, and the single reached #4 and was the highest-charting of the three. Soon after, Capitol Records signed Deborah to a recording contract, and she recorded her first album in 1980. The single Nobody’s Fool reached the Country top ten.
Bruce Channel recorded the Hot 100 number-one single, Hey Baby, in 1962. Deborah co-wrote the song Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me Baby with Bruce and Kieran Kane, but her record label wouldn’t let her record the song. Janie Fricke recorded the song and hit the top of the Country chart with it.
Rafe Van Hoy began co-writing songs with Deborah in 1982, and the two of them married later that year. The next year, she moved to RCA Records, and she recorded her second album in 1984. The first single from the album was Baby I Lied. The single not only reached #4 on the Country chart, but it also crossed over to the pop charts. The record peaked at #26 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the Adult Contemporary chart; it was to be her only visit to either chart. She had several more hits on the Country chart in 1984 before her career faded.
Deborah wrote several more top five Country records for other artists in the following years. She also recorded nine more albums herself, including an album of Christmas songs in 2013. She was still performing in public in concerts in 2018.