Kitty Wells, First Female Country Star Dead At 92

Nashville, Tennessee — Kitty Wells, The world’s first female country superstar passed away in her home tonight. She was 92. Wells’ family said she died in her home after suffering complications after a stroke.

Wells was known for her hit recordings like “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” which in 1952 was the first No. 1 hit by a woman soloist on the country music charts. Various polls of country fans consistently listed Wells as the #1 country singer for 15 years from 1953 to 1968. She was finally displaced by Tammy Wynette.

Wells recorded her first album in 1952 and continued touring until the year 2000. She still played occasional shows even after that. She recorded more than 50 albums and charted 25 Top 10 Country Hits.

In 1976 Wells was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and 10 years later received the Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music. In 1991 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences — the group that presents the Grammy Awards.

Wells had said to the Associated Press in a 2008 interview,

“I never really thought about being a pioneer. I loved doing what I was doing.”

Wells was married to country singer Johnny Wright, who sang with the duo Johnny and Jack when she was 20 years old. Touring with Johnny and Jack turned out to be her first exposure to the big stage.

Johnny Wright died in 2011 also.

Wells had a hit in 1955 called “Making Believe” which was on the movie soundtrack of “Mississippi Burning” that was released 33 years later. Among her other hits were “The Things I Might Have Been,” “Release Me,” “Amigo’s Guitar,” “Heartbreak USA,” “Left to Right” and a version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”