Brown - Dark
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Traditional Country, Honky Tonk, Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan
Melancholy, Earnest, Amiable/Good-Natured, Poignant, Sad, Bittersweet, Plaintive, Yearning, Warm, Earthy, Organic
Profile Bio Text
Ellen Muriel Deason, known professionally as Kitty Wells (born August 30, 1919) is an American country music singer. Her 1952 hit recording, "It Wasn`t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star. Her Top 10 hits continued up until the mid-1960s, inspiring a long list of future female country singers to come to fame in the 1960s.
Wells`s success in the 1950s and 1960s was so enormous that she still ranks as the sixth most successful female vocalist in the history of the Billboard country charts according to historian Joel Whitburn`s book The Top 40 Country Hits, behind Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, and Tanya Tucker. Wells was the third country music artist, after Roy Acuff and Hank Williams, to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991, as well as being the seventh woman and first Caucasian woman to receive the honor. In 1976, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She is as of May 2008 the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame. Wells`s accomplishments earned her the moniker "The Queen of Country Music," a title since inherited by Reba McEntire.
Childhood & early adulthood
Wells was born Ellen Muriel Deason in 1919 in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, and was one of the few Country singers born in Nashville. Wells began singing as a child, learning guitar from her father. As a teenager, she sang with her sisters, who performed under the name the "Deason Sisters", on a local radio station. The group began singing on the station in 1936. . At the age of 18 she married Johnnie Wright, a cabinet-maker who aspired to country-music stardom (which he`d eventually achieve as half of the duo Johnnie & Jack). 
 Career discovery
Wells sang with Johnnie and his sister Louise Wright; the three toured as "Johnnie Right & the Harmony Girls." Soon Johnnie Wright met Jack Anglin, who married Louise and became part of the band which became known first as the "Tennessee Hillbillies" and then the "Tennessee Mountain Boys."
Wright and Wells performed as a duo; it was at this time that she adopted the "Kitty Wells" stage name. When Anglin returned from the Army, he and Wright formed the Johnnie & Jack duo. Wells would tour with the duo, occasionally performing backup vocals.  On the popular syndicated Country program, Louisiana Hayride, Wells performed with her husbands`s duo. Wells however did not sing on their records until signing with RCA Records in 1949 releasing some of her first singles, including "Death At the Bar" and "Don`t Wait for the Last Minute to Pray," none of which charted. While these early records gained some notice, promoters still weren`t keen on promoting female singers, and therefore Wells was dropped from the label in 1950.
In 1952, Paul Cohen, an executive at Decca Records, approached Wells to record "It Wasn`t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,"  Thinking of the $125 recording payment, Wells went into Owen Bradley’s studio on May 3, 1952, to record “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” for Decca Records. The single took off during the summer and sold more than 800,000 copies in its initial release. It also crossed over to Billboard’s pop charts, hitting #27. . The song, banned by many radio stations  in 1952 and was also temporarily banned from the Grand Ole Opry. It became the first single by a female Country singer to peak at #1. The song was an answer song to Hank Thompson`s #1 smash, "The Wild Side of Life" and its message helped it reach #1 in 1952, where it stayed for six weeks, equivalent to the amount of time Faith Hill`s "Breathe" and Carrie Underwood`s "Jesus Take the Wheel" spent at the top position.
The song’s sentiments are similar to 1894’s “She Is More to Be Pitied than Censured,” with its premise that deceitful men are responsible for fallen women. The record was controversial and received some resistance from radio executives, but audiences couldn’t get enough of it.  Because of her major breakthrough, Wells received a membership to the Grand Ole Opry.
"It Wasn`t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" was followed by "Paying for That Back Street Affair," a response to Webb Pierce`s "Back Street Affair." The single reached number six in the spring of 1953, helping to establish a permanent place at the top of the charts for Wells.  Between 1953 and 1955, Wells was popular on the Country charts, and was the only female solo artist at the time to be able to maintain her success. In 1953, Wells had two Top 10 hits with "Hey Joe" and "Cheatin`s a Sin." The next year, Wells partnered up with Country star, Red Foley for the duet "One by One," which peaked at #1 on the
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Ellen Muriel Deason
Has Detailed Data (New)
Has Detailed Data (Music)
Place of Death
Madison Tennessee, USA
Cause of Death
Ruby Wright (Daughter), John Wright (Son), Bobby Wright (Son)
Has Detailed Data (105)
Has Detailed Data (76)
Music Profile Complete
Page Display = 2 (Legacy)
Music Genre (Text)
country, honky tonk, Nashville sound, gospel
RCA Victor, Decca / MCA, Capricorn, Rubocca, Southern Tracks
Red Foley, Webb Pierce, Johnnie Wright, Ruby Wright, Loretta Lynn, Jean Stafford (musician)
www.kittywells.com; accessed September 10, 2014.
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