Virginia Wynette Pugh, better known as Tammy Wynette, was born May 5, 1942, on a farm in Itawamba County, Mississippi. As a child she learned to play several musical instruments that had been owned by her father, a local musician who died when Wynette was eight months old. She took music lessons with the hope of a career in music.
Married for the ﬁrst of ﬁve times at the age of seventeen, Wynette worked as a beautician and a receptionist. In order to supplement her income, she began singing in clubs and on radio stations. In 1966 she moved to Nashville and secured a record contract. The next year she recorded the ﬁrst of twenty number one hits, a duet with David Houston entitled “My Elusive Dreams.” Three other hits were chart-topping duets with one-time husband George Jones. Wynette received Grammies in 1967 and 1969 for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. From 1968 through 1970, she was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association. In 1969 she was also voted the Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.
Her biggest hit, “Stand By Your Man” (1968), was co-written with Billy Sherrill, a producer for Columbia Records who was largely responsible for Wynette’s image as the “Queen of Country Music.” Many of her other songs likewise stressed women’s faithfulness to their men and forgiveness for their transgressions. Although her glory days were behind her by the end of the 1970s, Wynette had a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s through the success, in collaboration with the British duo KLF, of the single and video “Justiﬁed and Ancient” (1992), a pop chart-topper in the United Kingdom. In 1993 she recorded an album with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn entitled Honky Tonk Angels. Wynette died on April 6, 1998.
Cite this Entry
"Tammy Wynette," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2017, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 26 May 2017 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=216>
"Tammy Wynette." (2017) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved May 26, 2017, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=216