The Queen of Country Music died at the age of 92 after complications from a stroke. Kitty Wells will be mourned by strong female voices in country music. Kitty Wells died on Monday, July 16, 2012 at her home in Madison, Tennessee.
Loretta Lynn released a statement on her web site saying, “Kitty Wells will always be the greatest female country singer of all times. She was my hero. If I had never heard of Kitty Wells, I don’t think I would have been a singer myself. I wanted to sound just like her, but as far as I am concerned, no one will ever be as great as Kitty Wells. She truly is the Queen of Country Music.”
In 1976, Kitty Wells was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. According to the Hall of Fame’s biography, “Kitty Wells was a 33-year-old wife and mother when her immortal recording of ‘It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels’ suddenly made her a star. Other female country singers of her day were trying their hands at hard-living, honky-tonk songs, 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 the industry barriers for women.”
Kitty Wells was the first country female artist to sell a million copies of a record. She had 35 Billboard Top Ten records and 81 charted singles during her country recording career. She was famous for songs like “Your Wild Life’s Gonna Get You Down,” “Mommy for a Day,” “Will Your Lawyer Talk to God?” and “A Woman Half My Age.”
Country Music Hall of Fame member Jean Shepard said, “Without her there wouldn’t be a lot of us. I just hope that country music itself realizes what a wonderful lady she was and how much she’s going to be missed,” Shepard said in a phone interview with the Associated Press. “I know that people get old and they pass away, but I just always thought she was like my grandpa — she was always going to be around, always going to be here. But the Lord don’t see it that way.”
Barbara Mandrell said in a statement, “Kitty Wells was every female country music performer’s heroine. She led the way for all of us and I feel very grateful and honored to have known her. She was always the most gracious, kind and lovely person to be around.”
Johnnie Wright, her husband of more than 70 years, died last year. She is survived by a son and daughter, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.