The death of country music singer Kitty Wells has been reported by the Los Angeles Times today (July 17, 2012). Kitty, 92, was one of the first influential and successful female country singers, who scored her first major hit with the 1952 recording 'It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.' She died in Madison, Tennessee, yesterday, following complications from a stroke.
At a time when the music industry, even more so than today, was very much dominated by men, Kitty Wells was something of a beacon of hope for aspiring female musicians. Her debut hit came by accident; she had already been performing for a decade or more and had decided to give it one last shot before starting a family, when she was asked to record 'It Wasn't God.' She recorded the song as much for the $125 session fee than any other reason. The recording went to number one, where it remained for six weeks and sparked a sing of hits for the assertive singer. Loretta Lynn described Kitty Wells as her "hero" in a statement yesterday, on hearing the news of Wells' death. Wells' achievements certainly paved the way for singers such as Lynn, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
The singer Marty Stuart also paid tribute to Kitty, in a statement yesterday, saying "the undisputed queen of country music. There's more to being a queen than just calling yourself a queen - it's a title that goes with an entire lifetime of service and influence. You check the careers of anyone in [Nashville], and you won't find anyone with a more spotless career than Kitty Wells."