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A country music legend, Kitty Wells had a string of hits in the 1950s and '60s, including "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels."
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Wells received recognition for her work as a trailblazer for women in country music in 1976, when she was inducted into the Country Museum Hall of Fame. Several years later, she got a chance to perform with female country stars k.d. lang (Kathryn Dawn Lang) and Loretta Lynn, singing the Grammy Award-nominated song "Honky-Tonk Angels' Medley" (on k.d. lang's Shadowland album, 1988). In 1991,
Wells took home a special Grammy honor—the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Wells may have retired from performing in 2000, but she is remembered today for helping to create opportunities for other female performers in country music. The success of "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" (1952) showed that there was a market for country music from songs from a woman's point-of-view, and paved the way for future generations of female country singers.
Wells died on July 16, 2012, at the age of 92, after suffering a stroke. According to The New York Times, Wells was survived by her son, Bobby; daughter, Sue Wright Sturdivant; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren. Wells's daughter Ruby died in 2009.
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