Kitty Wells (92) is the greatest female county singer who broke down difficulties to women in the 1950s completely dominated by men, dies on Monday at her home in Nashville, Tennessee.
Kitty Wells became the first female country singer with a number one hit when she recorded “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” in 1952, when Kitty Wells was 33 and country music was entirely dominated by men.
Kitty Wells was born Ellen Muriel Deason in Nashville. Her family was musical and when Kitty Wells was a girl, her mother took her to the Grand Ole Opry’s live broadcasts, which at the time featured just a handful of women and none of them stars.
Kitty Wells and her cousin Bessie Choate began performing as the Deason Sisters in the mid-’30s and had their own radio show on WSIX, which was competing with the Opry’s home, WSM, for listeners.
Kitty Wells went on to stand up a total 35 Billboard Top Ten records. She also starred in her own television show in the late 1960s and travel around widely for many years with her husband, fellow country star Johnnie Wright, who died in 2011.
Survivors include Kitty Wells’s daughter Carol Sue and son Bobby, both of whom were active in country music.
Kitty Wells is the first female country recording artist to sell more than one million records, Kitty Wells was introduced into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976 and honored with a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 1991.