Today Tammy Wynette would have been 72 years old. Sadly, Wynette died at the very young age of 55 from cardiac arrhythmia. She was known as the First Lady of Country Music. Like many other country music legends (such as Dolly Parton), Wynette did not shy away from real issues around the disparities and complexities of women. There are plans to honor Wynette with an upcoming postage stamp.
Wynette was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998. While most people know her song, Stand By Your Man, and D.I.V.O.R.C.E., one of my favorites is Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad, probably because of my association of that song with the movie Sordid Lives. Leslie Jordan plays a homosexual imprisoned in a psych ward for being gay and impersonating Tammy Wynette. If you have not seen this movie, I strongly recommend it. Later in the television series of Sordid LIves, Tammy’s daughter Georgette Jones plays Tammy’s ghost.
Some will argue that her best work was in partnership with her tempestuous and passionate marriage to George Jones. I liked the album she did with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, Honky Tonk Angels. In 1991, Wynette showed her gay friendly side and recorded the hit Justified and Ancient, with the British pop group KLF.
In the last years of her life, Wynette struggled with addition issues and pain medications. I can still hardly believe she is gone and to have been so young. Happy Birthday, Tammy Wynette. You are still with so many of us.