Kitty Wells, singer
birth name: Muriel Ellen Deason

Kitty Wells

August 30, 1918, Nashville, TN ~ July 16, 2012, Nashville, TN

One of the few country stars born in Nashville, Kitty Wells had a string of hits from the '50s to the early '70s that earned her the title Queen of Country Music. She made her radio debut on Nashville's WSIX, where she met her future husband, Johnnie Wright of Johnnie & Jack. She began touring as part of Johnnie & Jack's show; Wright gave her the stage name, taken from an old folk ballad called ‘I'm A-Goin' to Marry Kitty Wells.’ Wells recorded unsuccessfully for RCA before switching to Decca, where she hit with 1952's ‘It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,’ a response to Hank Thompson's ‘The Wild Side of Life.’ Its controversial pre-feminist lyrics, which blamed unfaithful men for creating unfaithful women, paved the way for Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette and established Wells as the first major female country star. ~ Allmusic: Kitty Wells ~ retrieved August 25, 2013 © Allmusic

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August 30, 1975 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (5) Glen Campbell, Rhinestone Cowboy ~ #2 (1) Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, Fallin' In Love ~ #1 (3) KC & The Sunshine Band, Get Down Tonight


Her solo recording career lasted from 1952 to the late 1970s and she made concert tours from the late 1930s until 2000. That year, she announced she was quitting the road, although she performed occasionally in Nashville and elsewhere afterward. Her ‘It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels’ in 1952 was the first No. 1 hit by a woman soloist on the country music charts and dashed the notion that women couldn't be headliners. Billboard magazine had been charting country singles for about eight years at that time. She recorded approximately 50 albums, had 25 Top 10 country hits and went around the world several times. From 1953 to 1968, various polls listed Wells as the No. 1 female country singer. Tammy Wynette finally dethroned her. ~ USA Today: Kitty Wells Obituary ~ July 16, 2012 © USA Today

Kitty Wells ~ Inducted in the 1976 Country Music Hall Of Fame ~ Other female country singers of her day were trying their hands at hard-living, honky-tonk sounds, but it was the intense and piercing style of Kitty Wells, with her gospel-touched vocals and tearful restraint, that resonated with country audiences of the time and broke industry barriers for women. ~ 1976 © Country Music Hall Of Fame

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