A Rockapedia Obituary

Tammy Wynette

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Tammy Wynette died aged fifty-five on 6th April 1998 from cardiac arrhythmia.
A public memorial service attended by about one and a half thousand people was held at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium on 9th April 1998. A private, grave-side service had been held earlier with a crypt entombment at Nashville's Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Tammy Wynette was survived by her husband George Richey, four daughters and eight grandchildren.Photo of Tammy Wynette
In April 1999, her body was exhumed from her crypt in an attempt to settle a dispute over how she died. Tammy Wynette was reinterred in the Woodlawn Cross Mausoleum, at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.. She rests in the same Nashville cemetery as other country music luminaries including former husband, George Jones who died in April 2013, Webb Pierce, Jerry Reed, Marty Robbins, Bobby Russell, Porter Wagoner, Red Foley and Eddy Arnold.
In March 2012, the name on Tammy Wynette's tomb was changed from "Tammy Tammy " to "Virginia W. Richardson", her final legal married name. In March 2014, the name on the tomb was changed back.
Tammy Wynette was married five times and had three daughters. Her final marriage was to singer-songwriter George Richey who was her manager throughout much of the 1980s. Tammy Wynette was once linked romantically with actor Burt Reynolds and they were good friends up to her death.
Tammy Wynette had a daughter with George Jones, Tamala Georgette Jones in 1970 who is also a country singer and has released a few successful albums. George Jones legally adopted Tammy's eldest daughters Gwen, Jackie and Tina shortly after he and Tammy got married.
Tammy Wynette was born Virginia Wynette Pugh near Tremont, Mississippi, U.S.A. Tammys father was a farmer and local musician who died of a brain tumor when Tammy Wynette was nine months old. Her mother worked in an office, as a substitute school teacher, and on the family farm and after her husband's death, she left Tammy in the care of her own parents and moved to Memphis to work in a defense plant during World War II.
Tammy Wynette grew up in her maternal grandparents' home, which had no indoor toilets or running water. She was raised with an aunt, Carolyn Russell, who was only five years older, thus more of a sister than an aunt. As a girl, Tammy Wynette taught herself to play a variety of musical instruments that had been left by her deceased father.
Tammy Wynette attended Tremont High School, where she was an all-star basketball player. A month before graduation, several months before her eighteenth birthday, she wed her first husband, Euple Byrd. He was a construction worker, but had trouble keeping a job, and they moved several times. Tammy Wynette worked as a waitress, a receptionist, and a barmaid, and also in a shoe factory. In 1963, she attended beauty college in Tupelo, Mississippi, where she learned to be a hairdresser. She continued to renew her cosmetology license every year for the rest of her life – just in case she ever had to go back to a day job.
She left Euple, her first husband, before the birth of their third daughter. That baby developed spinal meningitis, and Tammy Wynette tried to earn extra money by performing at night. Euple did not support her ambition to become a country singer, and according to Tammy Wynette, as she drove away he told her to "Dream on, Baby". Years later, he appeared at one of her concerts as she was signing autographs and asked for one. She signed it "Dream on, baby." In 1965, Tammy Wynette sang on the Country Boy Eddie Show on WBRC-TV in Birmingham, meanwhile working as a hairdresser in Midfield, Alabama, and this led to performances with Porter Wagoner. In 1966, she moved with her three daughters, Gwen, Tina, and Jackie, from Birmingham to Nashville, Tennessee, where she attempted to get a recording contract. After being turned down repeatedly by all of the other record companies, she auditioned for the producer Billy Sherrill. Sherrill was originally reluctant to sign her, but decided to do so after finding himself in need of a singer for "Apartment Number 9". When Sherrill heard Tammy Wynette sing it, he was impressed and decided to sign her to Epic Records in 1966.
Once she was signed to Epic, Sherrill suggested she change her name to make more of an impression. According to her 1979 memoir, Stand by Your Man, during their meeting, Tammy Wynette was wearing her long, blonde hair in a ponytail, and Sherrill noted that she reminded him of Debbie Reynolds in the film Tammy and the Bachelor. He suggested "Tammy" as a possible name, so she became Tammy Wynette.
Her first single, "Apartment Number 9", written by Bobby Austin and Johnny Paycheck, was released in December 1966, and just missed the top 40 on the Country charts, peaking at number forty-four. It was followed by "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad", which became a big hit, peaking at number three. The song launched a string of top-ten hits that ran through the end of the 1970s, interrupted only by three singles that didn't crack the Top Ten. After "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" was a success, "My Elusive Dreams", a duet with David Houston, became her first number one in the summer of 1967, followed by "I Don't Wanna Play House" later that year. "I Don't Wanna Play House" won Tammy Wynette a Grammy award in 1967 for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, one of two wins for Tammy Wynette in that category.
During 1968 and 1969, Tammy Wynette had five number-one hits – "Take Me to Your World", "D-I-V-O-R-C-E", "Stand by Your Man", "Singing My Song", and "The Ways to Love a Man". "Stand by Your Man" was reportedly written in the Epic studio in just 15 minutes by Billy Sherrill and Tammy Wynette, and was released at a time when the women's-rights movement was beginning to stir in the U.S.A. The message in the song stated that a woman should stay with her man, despite his faults and shortcomings. It stirred up controversy and was criticized initially, and it became a lightning rod for feminists. Nevertheless, the song became very successful, reaching the top spot on the Country charts, and was also a top-20 pop hit, peaking at number nineteen on the Billboard pop charts in 1968, Tammy Wynette's only top-forty hit as a solo artist on the pop charts. In 1969, Tammy Wynette won the Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Stand by Your Man", which is now, according to critics, considered a "classic" or Country music "standard". She earned a gold record, which is awarded for albums selling in excess of 500,000 copies, for Tammy's Greatest Hits which was certified in 1970 by the RIAA. The album was then awarded platinum record status, awarded for albums selling in excess of one million copies, in June 1989. In 1970, director Bob Rafelson used a number of her songs in the soundtrack of his 1970 film Five Easy Pieces.
During the early 1970s, Tammy Wynette, along with singer Loretta Lynn, ruled the country charts and was one of the most successful female vocalists of the genre. During the early 1970s, number-one singles included "He Loves Me All the Way" "Run Woman, Run" and "The Wonders You Perform", from 1970, "Good Lovin'", "Bedtime Story" from 1971, "My Man", "'Til I Get it Right" from 1972, and "Kids Say the Darndest Things" from 1973. Concurrent to her solo success, a number of her duets with George Jones reached the top ten on the U.S. country singles charts during this time, including "The Ceremony" in 1972, "We're Gonna Hold On" in 1973, and "Golden Ring" in 1976. In 1968, Tammy Wynette became the second female vocalist to win the Country Music Association Awards' "Female Vocalist of the Year" award, later winning an additional two other times in 1969 and1970. For nearly two decades, Tammy Wynette held the record for most consecutive wins.
Tammy Wynette divorced her second husband, Don Chapel in 1968. Tammy married George Jones on 16th February 1969 in Ringgold, Georgia, U.S.A. They were married for six years, until their divorce, which was finalized in March 1975. Even after their 1975 divorce, due largely to George Jones' alcoholism, their professional collaboration continued with regularity through 1980 and years later in 1995, they made a reunion album entitled 'One'. It was well received, although it didn't achieve their earlier chart success. George Jones and Tammy Wynette had one daughter together, Tamala Georgette, born in 1970. Georgette Jones has, in recent years, become a successful country music artist who frequently pays tribute to her mother at her shows.
In 1976, after having her public divorce from George Jones the previous year, Tammy Wynette recorded, "'Til I Can Make It on My Own". Often said by music critics to be about her break-up from Jones and moving on with her life, the song reached Number one on the U.S. country singles charts, and Number eighty-four on the pop singles charts, becoming her first single in three years to enter the pop charts. Often considered to be one of her signature songs, it more or less helped Tammy Wynette's career after her divorce, showing she could remain popular. In 1976, Tammy Wynette had another Number one as a solo artist, "You and Me", which became her final Number one as a solo artist. Her last Number one came as a duet with George Jones in early 1977 entitled, "Near You".
Following 1976, Tammy Wynette's popularity slightly slowed, however, she continued to reach the Top ten until the end of the decade, with such hits as "Let's Get Together, "One of a Kind", "Womanhood""No One Else in this World" and "They Call It Makin' Love". She had a total of twenty number one hits on the U.S. country singles charts. Along with Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Dottie West, and Lynn Anderson, she helped redefine the role and place of female country singers.
Beginning in the early 1980s, however, her chart success began to wane, though, she did continue to have top-20 hits during this period, including "Starting Over" and "He Was There " in 1980, plus a cover of the Everly Brothers' hit "Crying in the Rain" in 1981, "Another Chance", "You Still Get to Me in My Dreams" in 1982 and "A Good Night's Love" in 1983.
Tammy Wynette's 1987 album Higher Ground featured a neotraditional country sound and was both a critical and relative commercial success. The album featured contributions from Larry Gatlin, Vince Gill, Ricky Van Shelton, Rodney Crowell, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris and The O'Kanes. Two of the singles released from the album, "Your Love" and "Talkin' to Myself Again", reached the top 20 on the U.S. country singles charts; a third single, "Beneath a Painted Sky" , featuring duet vocals from Emmylou Harris, reached Number twenty-five in early 1988.
In 1990, Heart Over Mind was released and showed that Tammy Wynette's popularity on radio was declining. The album yielded zero Top forty Country hits, although numerous singles were released between 1990 and 1991, including a duet with Randy Travis titled, "We're Strangers Again".
Tammy recorded a song with the British group The KLF in late 1991 entitled "Justified and Ancient", which became a Number one hit in eighteen countries the following year, and reached Number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The song gave Tammy Wynette a new following, and was her highest-charting single on the Billboard Pop charts. In the video, scrolling electronic titles said that "Miss Tammy Wynette is the first lady of country music" and listed a number of her accomplishments in the recording industry. Tammy Wynette appeared in the video wearing a crown and seated on a throne.
In 1992, future First Lady Hillary Clinton said during a sixty Minutes interview either "I'm not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette". The remark set off a firestorm of controversy. Tammy Wynette wrote to Clinton, saying, "With all that is in me, I resent your caustic remark. I believe you have offended every true country-music fan and every person who has made it on their own with no one to take them to the White House." Clinton then called to apologize after she saw the large negative reaction she received, and asked Tammy to perform at a fundraiser. Tammy Wynette agreed to do so.
The 1993 album Honky Tonk Angels gave her a chance to record with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn for the first time; though yielding no hit singles the album did well on the country charts and even reached number forty-two on the Billboard Pop chart. The one single that was released from the album, a cover of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" peaked outside the Country Top forty in 1993. The following year, she released Without Walls, a collection of duets with a number of country, pop and rock and roll performers, including Wynonna Judd, Elton John, Lyle Lovett, Aaron Neville, Smokey Robinson, Sting and a number of others. An album cut titled "Girl Thang", a duet with Wynonna Judd, reached Number sixty-four in 1994, but no singles were released from this album. image of Tammy Wynette
Tammy Wynette also designed and sold her own line of jewelry in the 1990s. In 1995, she and George Jones recorded their first new duet album in fifteen years titled, One, which spawned a single of the same name. The single was the duo's first music video together. They last performed together in 1997 at Lanierland Music Park.
Tammy recorded a cover version of The Beach Boys' "In My Room", a duet with Brian Wilson, for the group's 1996 comeback album Stars and Stripes Vol.1. The track was held back for a proposed second volume, which never appeared, but Tammy Wynette's performance is included in the TV documentary Beach Boys: Nashville Sounds."In My Room" can be found on the album " Tammy Wynette Remembered" which was released in September 1998.
Tammy Wynette's last concert was given on 5th March 1998, stepping in for Loretta Lynn, who was ill at the time. Tammy Wynette's last television appearance was on the TNN series Prime Time Country on 9th March 1998, performing "Stand by Your Man" and "Take Me to Your World". Tammy Wynette's last Grand Ole Opry appearance was on 17th May 1997; she performed "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" and "Stand by Your Man" her Number 1 song and signature song, and her first single "Apartment #9" which had gone to Number forty-four on the Billboard Country Charts but had become a classic to her loyal fan base and to Country Music.

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song:'D-I-V-O-R-C-E' by Tammy Wynette