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Kitty Wells, American country singer, dies at 92

July 17, 2012


Kitty Wells—Reuters Photo
Kitty Wells—Reuters Photo

NASHVILLE: American country singer Kitty Wells, dubbed the “Queen of Country Music”, passed away at her home in Nashville due to complications from a stroke, according to a news report published in Daily Mail. She was 92 years old.

Wells was the first female country singer to top the US country charts with her hit song, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”, which stayed at the top of the list for six weeks despite being banned by several radio stations due to its controversial message at the time.

She had recorded around 50 albums, had 25 Top 10 country hits and took several tours around the world. Between 1953 and 1968, several polls named her the No 1 female country singer, and in 1991, she became the eighth woman to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Wells, who began singing and playing guitar as a child, met her future husband, Jonnie Wright while she was making her radio debut on Nashville’s WSIX. They married when Wells was 18 and remained married for nearly 74 years till Wright’s death in 2011 at the age of 97.

They had three children together — daughters Ruby and Carol Sue, and a son Bobby, as well as eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In 1976, Wells was inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame. Her songs were rebellious and controversial in the male-dominated society, but inspired many future female artists such as Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.

"Kitty Wells will always be the greatest female country singer of all times," stated Lynn on her website.

Her funeral will be held on Friday.