According to Rolling Stone, country singer Kitty Wells, 92, died at her home in Madison, Tennessee on Monday, July 16, 2012. She died from complications of a stroke.
Wells, according to Wikipedia, was born Ellen Muriel Deason in Nashville, Tennessee, and she was one of the few country singers born in Nashville. She began singing at a very young age.
Kitty Wells began singing as a child, learning guitar from her father. As a teenager, she sang with her sisters, who performed under the name, The Deason Sisters. They performed on a local radio station beginning in 1936.
At the age of 18 Wells married Johnnie Wright. Her husband, a cabinet-maker, also aspired to country-music stardom (which he would eventually achieve as half of the duo, Johnnie & Jack).
Wells’ singing career peaked from 1953-1969, and she was popular enough to start her own syndicated television program, with her husband, in 1969. The show was called The Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Family Show, and it featured appearances by their children, including actor Bobby Wright. It remained on the air for several years.
In the late 1970s, Wells and her husband formed their own record label, Rubocca (the name was a composite of their three children’s names: Ruby, Bobby, and Carol). It released several albums.
In 1979 at age 60 she was back on the Billboard charts with a modest hit, “I Thank You for the Roses.”
Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
From August 2008 through June 2009 an exhibit ran at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville honoring Kitty Wells.
Wells’ oldest daughter, Ruby, died in 2009 at the age of 69, and Johnnie died in 2011 at the age of 97.
This “young” musician, who started out in Nashville, will never be forgotten!
Kitty Wells’ Fans Remember
“Kitty Wells was the first female to have a number 1 hit on the country music charts, and she was known as “The Queen of Country Music”! – Jennifer Ramsey
“Kitty Wells was the first female superstar of country and will be missed. Her place in country music will always be remembered. Johnny and June (Cash and Carter) both thought very highly of her.” – Johnny Cash and June Carter tribute artists, Jimmie and Cyndi Cantrell, Johnny Cash Country