Monday, July 16, 2012
Queen Of Country Music dies
The Queen of Country Music, Kitty Wells, died Monday (July 16) at her home in Madison, Tenn., at age 92.
Her husband of more than 70 years, country singer Johnnie Wright, died Sept. 27, 2011, at age 97.
Wright essentially managed his wife's famous career and made her the feature attraction as the Kitty Wells-Johnnie Wright Family Show. In many ways a reluctant star, Wells became the first female country artist to find consistent success, beginning with her huge 1952 Decca hit, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." Hence her near-universal acclamation as the Queen of Country Music, a title bestowed on her years before the 1960s heyday of women singers in the field, including Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton and others.
One of the few early stars native to Nashville, she was born Aug. 30, 1919, as Muriel Deason. She dropped out of school during the Depression to take a factory job, but with two sisters and a cousin sang as the Deason Sisters on Nashville radio station WSIX. In 1937, the 18-year-old Deason married Wright, a fellow Nashville radio hopeful, who immediately put his new wife into his act (along with his sister Louise) as Johnnie Wright & the Harmony Girls.
Muriel Deason Wright was the mother of three children -- Ruby, Carol Sue and Bobby -- but recorded gospel and heart songs in 1949 and 1950 for RCA Victor under the name she'd been given in Knoxville -- Kitty Wells. (The name came from the title of an old Pickard Family recording.) Her RCA records didn't sell, and it was only with repeated pleadings that Johnnie Wright convinced Decca Records producer Paul Cohen in 1952 to give Wells a chance on that label. Wells agreed to try it mainly for the $125 session fee.
The featured song of that May 1952 session at Nashville's Tulane Hotel was J.D. Miller's answer to Hank Thompson's red-hot "The Wild Side of Life." Expressing the age-old woman's point of view that cheating men are responsible for fallen women, the song was "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." Wells' record sold some 800,000 copies.
Soon enough, Wells recorded more hits of plaintive heartbreak from the woman's point of view, many dealing quite frankly with modern social problems in the process: "Release Me," "I Heard the Juke Box Playing," "I Gave My Wedding Dress Away," "Making Believe," "Paying for That Back Street Affair," "Your Wild Life's Gonna Get You Down," "Mommy for a Day" and "Heartbreak USA."
Usually dressed in the billowy gingham of a bygone era, Well's stage presence and her quiet, happy family life seemed to belie so many of her hit song themes.
Wells was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1989, she recorded the "Honky-Tonk Angels Medley" with K.D. Lang, Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee, her final major recording project and a Grammy-nominated performance.
Funeral services will be held Friday (July 20) at 1 p.m. at the Hendersonville Church of Christ in Hendersonville, Tenn
Friday, July 06, 2012
Band Perry change tour dates
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