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How Hank Thompson Helped Kitty Wells on Her Career


Everyone remembers Kitty Wells’ famous song “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” She became known in the music industry because of it. However, Wells wouldn’t have been known if the songwriter of the song, J.D. “Jay” Miller, wasn’t inspired by Hank Thompson‘s song. Therefore, Wells did owe part of her career’s success to Thompson.

Image result for hank thompson kitty wells honky tonk angels
Hank Thompson helped Kitty Wells established her career. Photo via countrymusichalloffame.org

“The Wild Side of Life” by Hank Thompson

“The Wild Side of Life” became the most famous song by Thompson in country music. He released it in 1951 and instantly became a popular song, making it to the top of the Billboard country chart. This indeed made Thompson an established country singer.

This song made itself a name in country music because aside from its stunning plot, the melody of the song has a unique style in country music during those days. Songwriters Arlie Carter and William Warren wrote the song based on Warren’s experience during his early years.

He met a young woman who is fond of her nightlife and not wanting to give it up.

In Thompson’s song, he tells a story of his lover who left him choosing to spend her days with other people and drowning herself with the glamorous and glittery nightlife.

The glamor of the gay nightlife has lured you
To the places where the wine and liquor flow

The woman in the song was dubbed as a honky-tonk angel.

Since the song was released, a lot of people, particularly men, started to criticize women because of their love for the party. This then prompted Miller to write the biggest hit of Wells.

Kitty Wells Answers Back with a Song

In Wells’ single, she answered back to the words of Thompson by saying that she turned to do what she is doing because of what he has done.

It wasn’t God who made honky-tonk angels
As you said in the words of your song
There are many times married men think they’re still single
That has caused many a good girl to go wrong

These two songs in country music have been two of the best country songs, and we can all agree with that. Moreover, we can also say that Wells wouldn’t have been known if Thompson didn’t record that song.

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