On Monday (July 16), country music superstar Kitty Wells died from complications from a stroke, reports Fox News. She was 92.
Born Ellen Muriel Deason in Nashville, Tenn., Wells and her husband Johnny Wright toured the country in the 1940s. Wells became well-known with her hit 1952 single “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” The single became the first song by a female artist to hit number one on the Billboard Country Music chart. Wells helped to convince record studios to sign female singers, becoming the first female country singer to issue a LP.
Her influence is still felt today. Country singer Loretta Lynn issued a statement mourning the loss of Wells. Lynn and Wells collaborated on the 1989 record “The Honky Tonk Angels Medley” along with artists Brenda Lee and k.d. Lang.
“Kitty Wells will always be the greatest female country singer of all times. She was my hero. If I had never heard of Kitty Wells, I don’t think I would have been a singer myself. I wanted to sound just like her, but as far as I am concerned, no one will ever be as great as Kitty Wells. She truly is the Queen of Country Music.”
Wells was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and had 25 Top 10 country hits.