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Music / Kitty Wells

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Kitty Wells (1919-2012) was born Ellen Muriel Deason on August 30th 1919 in Nashville, Tennessee. She was the first female country music star at a time when most country singers were male or at least singing from the male perspective. She started out singing with her husband Johnnie Wright in the forties but she planned to retire from doing this to raise her children.

However Paul Cohen of Decca Records was looking for a female artist to record a song in respinse to a Hank Thompson hit. This becamse her first number one song as a solo artist and was released in 1952. Entitled "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels", it was a response to a song by Hank Thompson's song "The Wild Side of Life" about an adulterous woman. Kitty's response song made the point that men also were to blame for adultery. Kitty's song was banned from several stations.


From 1953 up to 1970, Kitty recorded a string of songs about what it was like to be cheated on, separated from your spouse by wars or because of infidelity and the double standards when it came to sex. Several of these were top ten hits including "Release me", "Heartbreak USA" and "Will your Lawyer Talk to God?". In 1970 Kitty even had her own TV show "The Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Family Show " but this did not last long due to stronger competition in the same time slot.

After the 1970s Kitty's popularity waned although she continued to play minor venues and put out several more albums. She was the second female inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (the first was Patsy Cline) in 1976.

Kitty Wells and her husband Johnnie Wright performed their final gig in 2000 at the Nashville Nightlife Theatre on New Year's Eve. Wells and her husband celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2007; he died at age 97 in 2011. Kitty died on July 16, 2012 after suffering a stroke, a month short of her 93rd birthday.


Tropes present:

  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In "I Gave My Wedding Dress Away" the speaker wants her beloved and her younger sister to be happy so she gives her sister her wedding dress.
  • The Mistress: Figures heavily in Kitty's songs. Sometimes she's the villain and sometimes Kitty is pointing out that she isn't the only one to blame.
  • Your Cheating Heart: In many, many songs

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