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Kitty Wells, Country Music Trailblazer, Dies

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  • Kitty Wells
    (Photo: Twitter/WDVX)
    Dubbed country music's most successful and influential female artist, Kitty Wells has died at age 92 on Monday.
By Emma Koonse, Christian Post Reporter
July 17, 2012|4:09 pm

Dubbed country music's most successful and influential female artist, Kitty Wells died at age 92 on Monday.

Wells was born Ellen Deason to a family of country musicians, and she learned to sing and play guitar as a child. The Nashville, Tenn. native changed the male-dominated world of country music during her almost century-long career.

"The history of country music can't be written without calling attention to her great achievements," said John Rumble of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, according to The L.A. Times.

The senior historian and the Nashville museum added that "she really has left an indelible mark on American music history."

Nicknamed the Queen of Country Music, Wells scored her first hit recording in 1952 with "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." The track made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and earned her nationwide fame.

Wells continued making chart toppers throughout the mid-1960s, and is ranked sixth of the most successful female vocalists in the history Billboard's country charts. Other artists ahead of Wells on the list are Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, and Tanya Tucker.

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Ultimately, Wells generated 35 Top 10 hits and charted 81 songs over 27 years, as her career spanned over part of the singing Deason Sisters as well as touring with her husband of 74 years, Johnny Wright.

In 1976, she was insulted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Then in 1991, she became the third country music artist, trailing Roy Acuff and Hank Williams, and the eighth woman to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Moreover, Wells earned awards including the Academy of Country Music's Pioneer Award and the Music City News Living Legend Award, among others.

On Twitter following her death, users are posting tributes to the singer.

"Goodbye to the great country music pioneer Kitty Wells," posted OnTheMedia.

Country music singer Charlie Daniels wrote: "A Queen died today. The true Queen of country music, the lady who set the standard for all who followed. Rest in peace Kitty Wells."

Similarly, country music star Sunny Sweeny wrote on Twitter: "Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of country music pioneer and Honky Tonk Angel, Kitty Wells. She was a hero to every female singer."

"A sad loss to the music community. We remember Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Kitty Wells," wrote the official Twitter account for the Grammy Awards.

 

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