Tammy Wynette, one of the best female country singers of all time. She is known for her anthems “Stand by your man” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”. Wynette was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998. She is known as the “First Lady of Country Music”. A lot of her songs dealt with difficulties of life and relationships.
Wynette was born Virginia Wynette Pugh on May 5, 1942, in Itawamba County, Mississippi. She’s the only child of Mildred Faye and William Hollis Pugh. Her father was a farmer and her mother was a substitute school teacher. When her father died due to a brain tumor, her mother moved to Birmingham, Alabama to work for the military. As a result, Wynette was left to her grandparents Thomas Chester Russell, and his wife, Flora.
Growing up, Wynette taught herself to play musical instruments that had left by her deceased father. She also performed on a local Mississippi gospel radio show.
The peak of Success…
Many of Wynette’s songs peaked the music charts. Her hallmark was the hit single “Stand by your Man” and was sold over 2 million copies worldwide. It marked No. 1 on country music chart and No. 19 on the pop charts. The song became the best-selling single by a woman in the history of country music.
Furthermore, “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” earned her a Grammy Award. She won Best Female Country Vocal Performance with the song “Stand by Your Man” in 1970. Before she grabbed the Grammy, she won the first of three consecutive Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year honors in 1968.
All in all, she recorded a total of 30 studio albums, released 6 music videos, and placed 64 singles on the Music Country Chart, 20 of which reached #1 on the Billboard Country Chart.
Wynette was married five times. Her first husband was Euple Byrd. They had 3 children. Byrd didn’t support Wynette’s ambitions of becoming a country music singer. Her second husband was Don Chaple whom they got divorced in 1968. Then she married George Jones and got divorced in 1975. They had one child. Then to Michael Tomlin but got divorced in 1976. Lastly, George Richey, her longest marriage. Richey was her manager all throughout her career in 1980. It was once speculated that Wynette had a relationship with the actor Burt Reynolds. They both denied, said, they were just friends.
In the year 1970, Wynette had experienced many physical ailments. She had 26 all in all surgeries during her lifetime. She also developed a serious addiction to painkiller but managed to overcome by entering Betty Ford Center.
Back in 1993 after Christmas, Wynette was rushed to The Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee due to bile duct infection (a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine) and was comatose for five days. She underwent intestinal bypass operation.
On April 6, 1998, Wynette died at the age of 55. She was found dead on her couch on that day because of a blood clot in her lung.
At Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on April 9, 1998, a public memorial service was held and attended by approximately 1,500 people.
The controversy over her Death…
In 1999, an attempt to settle a dispute over how the country music legend died was established. Three of Wynette’s daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit against husband/manager, George Richey. As a result, a new autopsy was conducted. The coroner declared Wynette died of Cardiac Arrhythmia (a condition in which the heartbeat is irregular, too fast, or too slow). In May 1999, George Richey was dropped from the case because he was about to counter file a case towards Wynette’s daughters.
Truly, Tammy Wynette is one of the greatest and most influential female singers in country music history. For all intents and purposes, she influenced a lot of artists including Sara Evans, Faith Hill, and Lee Ann Womack.
Here are some of the best tracks of Tammy Wynette:
Stand By Your Man