Unless you listen to country music and especially the oldies, you might not recognize the name Kitty Wells. Kitty was known as the ‘Queen of Country Music’. She passed away on Monday in Madison Tennessee at the age of 92.
Kitty’s death resulted from complications of heart troubles, namely strokes. She was the first female superstar in country music. Her career started in the 30s, but it would take until 1952 to become a superstar. Her number one hit “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” forever changed her popularity. Kitty Wells was going to use the song as a last ditch effort to make it big before retiring and becoming a stay at home mom. The song was the one that launched her career instead. Kitty continued recording her songs up until the 70s. She was even touring up until 2000.
Several of her hits were considered taboo at the time because of the topics she covered, like talking about what happens with divorces and affairs. The initial hit was on the charts for six weeks at number one. She was known for her assertive and confident voice. Several considered her to be the influence on such stars as Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain and Tammy Wynette. Loretta Lynn was even quoted as saying she probably would not have become a singer if not for hearing Kitty Wells and her song.
Kitty made it into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976. She was born Muriel Ellen Deason in 1919. She married Johnnie Wright, a country singer in 1937. It was Wright who helped her come up with a stage name.