Tammy Wynette Biography

Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter (1942–1998)
Tammy Wynette was a Grammy Award-winning country music singer who recorded the hit "Stand By Your Man." She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998.


Tammy Wynette was born on May 5, 1942, in Itawamba County, Mississippi. By 1965, she was a divorced mother of three working at a beauty salon in Memphis. After appearing on The Porter Wagoner Show, she moved to Nashville, and signed to Epic Records. Her best known song is "Stand By Your Man" (1968). Wynette was in a stormy marriage with country star George Jones from 1969-1975. The pair continued to record together long after the marriage ended. Wynette died in 1998.

Early Life

Country singer and songwriter Tammy Wynette was born in Virginia Wynette Pugh, on May 5, 1942, in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Wynette’s father, guitarist William Hollis Pugh, died when she was eight months old. When her mother, Mildred Faye, moved to Birmingham, Alabama to work for the military, Wynette was sent to live with her sharecropper grandparents. She grew up in a musical household and as a teenager performed on a local Mississippi gospel radio show. While in her late teens, Wynette began a short-lived marriage to Euple Byrd.

In 1964, Wynette left her husband and took their children to live with some relatives in Birmingham, Alabama. There she supported her family by working in a beauty salon. Before long, Wynette landed a part-time spot on a local television program called the Country Boy Eddie show. She later moved to Nashville, where she auditioned for several labels before producer Billy Sherrill signed her to Epic Records in 1967.

Commercial Success

Early in her career, Wynette released a number of successful singles, including “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” (both 1967), which earned her a Grammy Award. In 1968, she won the first of three consecutive Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year honors. Later that year, Wynette released the most famous recording of her career - "Stand By Your Man," which peaked at No. 1 on the country charts, while reaching No. 19 on the pop charts. The blockbuster song sold over 2 million copies and became the bestselling single by a woman in the history of country music.

Country Collaborations

In addition to a prosperous solo career, Wynette was noted for her collaborations with other country artists. Her most notable partner was fellow country singer George Jones, whom she married in 1968. Jones adopted Wynette’s three children and (with his three from a previous marriage) they became a large extended family. The couple recorded 10 albums together and many of their singles became chart toppers, including “Take Me,” “We Go Together,” “We’re Gonna Hold On,” and “We Loved It Away.” However, their songs united them only on stage and the duet ended their stormy marriage in 1975; they continued to record sporadically over the next two decades.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Wynette’s music career continued to flourish with the releases of The First Lady (1970), One of a Kind (1977), Sometimes When We Touch (1985) and Next To You (1989). In the early 1990s, Wynette collaborated with the British pop group KLF to create the international dance hit "Justified and Ancient" (1991), and with country superstars Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn for the album Honky Tonk Angels (1993). The 1995 album One marked Wynette’s last recording with ex-husband George Jones.

Throughout the 1990s, Wynette was hospitalized a number of times before she died from a blood clot on April 6, 1998, at the age of 55. Later that year, she was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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