[key], 1942–98, American singer and songwriter, often called
“the first lady of country music,” b. Itawamba, Co., Miss., as
Virginia Wynette Pugh. She began singing on television in Birmingham, Ala.,
in 1965, and signed a recording contract after moving to Nashville in 1966.
Her plaintive voice and melodic songs of life, love, and sorrow proved
extremely popular, and she soon scored several hits including
“D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and “Stand by Your Man” (both:
1968), the latter a chart-topping blockbuster which she cowrote that became
her signature tune. A major country artist from the 1960s to the 90s,
Wynette achieved success as a single performer and in duets with a number of
male country stars, notably George Jones, who was (1969–75) the
third of her five husbands. During her career she racked up more than 20
number-one hits, made more than 50 albums, and sold more than $30 million
worth of recordings. Her outstanding late albums include Honky Tonk
Angels (1993), with fellow superstars Dolly Parton and
Loretta Lynn, and One (1995), her last recording
See her autobiography (1979); biography by J. McDonough (2010).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Popular and Jazz: Biographies