Country Music Hall of Fame member Kitty Wells died Monday in Nashville at age 92 from complications following a stroke. Known as "The Queen of Country Music," Wells was the first woman to reach #1 on the country chart in 1952 with her signature hit "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." She joined the Grand Ole Opry shortly after and continued scoring hits into the 1960s.
Kitty Wells was a primary influence on everyone from Loretta Lynn to Tammy Wynette, and Kellie Pickler name checked Wells as one of the inspirations behind her latest album, 100 Proof, as well. Kellie tweeted, "My heart cries over the loss of Ms Kitty Wells. She is and always will be the true Queen of Country Music."
Loretta Lynn also released a statement saying, "Kitty Wells will always be 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."
Kitty Wells was born Muriel Deason in 1919 in Nashville, TN. She was married to Johnnie Wright of the country duo Johnnie & Jack for 74 years until his death last September. Wells was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 1991.
Wells' funeral will be held at Hendersonville Church of Christ near Nashville this Friday at 1 p.m. CT. She will be laid to rest at Spring Hill Cemetary in Madison, TN.
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