Country mourns loss of 'Queen' Kitty Wells
July 16th, 2012
06:11 PM ET

Country mourns loss of 'Queen' Kitty Wells

Country legend Kitty Wells died on Monday due to complications from a stroke, CNN has confirmed. She was 92.

According to a press statement, Wells, who was born Ellen Muriel Deason Wright in Nashville, Tennessee, "passed away peacefully with family by her side."

Wells is survived by her son, Bobby Wright; her daughter, Sue Wright Sturdivant; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; and some "devoted nieces and nephews," the statement says.

Wells started her career in 1937 with her now-deceased husband Johnnie Wright, and the New York Times calls her an "unlikely and unassuming pioneer," a singer whose career paved the way for future female country stars.

The turning point was the song “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," a single she recorded in 1952 without expectations, the Times says.

With that record, Wells became the first female singer to reach No. 1 on the country charts. It also set off consecutive success that earned her "near-universal acclamation as the Queen of Country Music," reports, noting that it was a "title bestowed on her years before the 1960s heyday of women singers in the field, including Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton and others."

Wells continued to hold onto her crown as country's leading female singer for the next 14 years, a statement says, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976.

"Kitty Wells will always be the greatest female country singer of all times. She was my hero. If I had never heard of Kitty Wells, I don’t think I would have been a singer myself," said Loretta Lynn in a statement Monday. "I wanted to sound just like her, but as far as I am concerned, no one will ever be as great as Kitty Wells. She truly is the Queen of Country Music."

Added "American Idol" alum Kellie Pickler via Twitter, "My heart cries over the loss of Ms Kitty Wells. She is and always will be the true Queen of Country Music."

Charlie Daniels seconded that thought, tweeting, "A Queen died today. The true Queen of country music,the lady who set the standard for all who followed . Rest in peace Kitty Wells."

The Grand Ole Opry also paid their condolences, writing (along with a video of one of Wells' performances), "We will always remember the legendary Kitty Wells. Our thoughts are with her loved ones."


Filed under: Celebrities • Music

soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. here

    Hi there, I found your site by the use of Google while looking for a related subject, your website came up, it seems to be great. I've bookmarked to my favourites|added to bookmarks.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. ata22299

    Please will you accept my heartfelt condolences on the Queen of the country music :Kitty Wells.
    We belong to God , and to Him we return !

    July 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steve mcdowell

    We have lost the true queen of country music. I ment kitty Wells on the back stage in hillsdale Michigan. What a wonderful lady.R.I.P

    July 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. marva


    July 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. .•|•.

    92 is a long life. We don't hear that very often. RIP Kitty Wells.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Demi Lovato Lyrics

    You can certainly see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

    July 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hattie's Grandaughter

      In six decades she recorded over 90 singles, her first single sold over a million copies (totally unheard of in an age where country singers were thought to be men, not women and where the woman's role in Country Music was as a backup singer) she also recorded over 30 albums and won many many awards. Every country music female will tell us today how Kitty Wells blazed a trail for them.

      July 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. idell rozier

    Iloved kitty wells and all the otherold country artist thank god for xm radio I want to say to the attacher that they will never be lucky enough to be what kitty was.

    July 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mar

    The thing about Kitty Wells that's easy to overlook nowadays is that she came from a time when country singers actually lived the lives they sang about. There was an authenticity to her singing that is simply absent today, amidst the screaming, hystrionics, choreography and over-the-top drama that is so inescapable in current entertainment. Kitty just walked out there with her guitar and did her thing, connecting with audiences because of her heartfelt lyrics and resonant voice. And she did it for decades. To quote Dolly Parton - one of many entertainers who cite Kitty as a major influence - "There may have been better voices, but never truer one".

    July 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hattie's Grandaughter,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=7f936895557cba0&biw=646&bih=534

      July 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeffery

    Rest in peace Kitty Wells, You will be forever missed.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Valerie Wynn

    To Bill, I don't think we're actually debating here who was the better singer. We're acknowledging the passing of a great, GROUNDBREAKING artist. If one takes a serious look at the glass ceilings she shattered, it will be evident what an influence Kitty was on your newer artists, like Carrie and Taylor. She deserves respect for that reason alone.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dustieryder


    July 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. justme

    so many nice thoughts here should not be polluted by the ignorance of those who just do not get enough attention at home. they should sit back and listen to some real music and appreciate the gift of this prescious ability that we all want to emulate even if just in the shower. see you in the resurrection Kitty, thanks

    July 17, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. mizh

    It's sad: another music legend gone. RIP Kitty Wells.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Drew

    Whoa, heavyweights like Kelli Pickler are weighing in on this ... nothing from Kanye West on this?

    July 17, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. karen

    Thats when country music was good! Musicians had class back then, they presented themselves with pride not like anyone that sings now. I quit listening to country a long time ago the "artists" now i wouldnt go to a free concert if they played one. RIP

    July 17, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  16. selendis

    I will not say that I am saddened by her passing. I am sure at 92 Miss Kitty Wells wasn't regretting her death. I do hope her family is at peace. “Go then, there are other worlds than these.”

    July 17, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  17. Jo Forbes

    Kitty Wells was a great country singer . Her music has been and will be enjoy for years to come . A true and great preformer .

    July 17, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  18. soonkhengkheng

    R.I.P. Kitty Wells.

    July 17, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  19. marshoutlaw

    A queen is dead, and for once i actually care. Rest in peace and thanks for the songs Kitty

    July 17, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  20. johng

    so much hate and evil. this person died have some repect and not jugdement ,eyes see you!

    July 17, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  21. Lashina

    Kitty Wells, was true Artist & ledgend in country music..I know she was a great Mother, Grandmother & Great Grandmother.
    Rest In Peace sweet Kitty. I loved ya!

    July 17, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  22. Felix A kins

    God endorsed people with wisdom for a peofitable living, may kitty wells soul rest in peace, she died yet stilling living, she only travelled and never to come.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  23. bullet1

    Kitty Wells, Johnny and Jack, Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce, and many others brought good wholesome entertainment through the magic of radio to millions of poor southerners that could not have gotten in any other way in the thirties, forties, and fifties. Much Obliged! RIP Kitty.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jo Anne

      All of country music's greatest legends are gone now and true country music no longer exists! The so-called country music of today is certainly not genuine country music. There are no words to describe what is being sung now! Thank heaven the songs of Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, and Dottie West will live forever thanks to all the records and CD's available for the pleasure of loyal country music fans. God bless Kitty and her family.

      July 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  24. AnnieR.

    km: you are too ignorant to understand the achievements of ms. wells..........

    July 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Va. Musicman

    R. I. P. Kitty!

    July 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Va. Musicman

    I was raised on country music as well as other kinds of music. Ms. Kitty Wells was a true legend People with no respect for peopke like Ms. Wells need to get a life.{Dave, Tom, etc}. DUMBA__ES!!!

    July 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  27. John

    Rest in Peace.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  28. ron

    I was never a country music fan but till now I thought she had died many years ago. May she rest in peace. God bless her and her family. I know she will be missed by many.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  29. cheryl lopez

    I agree that patsy had a voice that could take you to your knees..i love my metal..but if you dont love have no sou..however, ms wells paved the way for all the women who came after her

    July 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  30. lorraine

    Hey you young foks, one day if you are lucky enough you will also be 92 and lets hope you have left some sort of a legacy behind like Kitty Wells did, in the old days before computers and TV people used to sit and listen and try to copy these now elderly country stars, many a night spend by millions listening and enjoying her singing, now everyone is hooked on TV, computers and video games which is fine but show some respect for those who were considered by most folks to be good entertainment.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • BeadlesAz

      Lorraine – well said. They just don't know what they're missing.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Michael Hicks

    May she rest in peace

    July 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |

    It's great we live in a free country and can voice our opinion...hope that never changes but ask yourself what's wrong with you when you feel the need to be so nasty and evil and make these comments. To live with all that anger inside of you...put all that makes you angry behind you, quit wasting your God given talent. Respect is a beautiful thing.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  33. jim scroggs

    kitty wells was a great country singer with a beautiful voice!she was my dads favorite female singer! Ive watched the grand ole opry since the days on tv in the barn! Since:roy acuff,farron young,marty robbins,george jones,kitty wells,string bean,grandpa jones,an minnie pearl! All greats! Kids today listen to rap which has brought violence to music industry! It has no meaning(just noise)!it has no soul! Even great black singers like ray charles,nat king cole,fats domino,billy holiday,b.b.king,would probably agree! Music today has progressed to nothing! No soul or heart!a star will shine on like ms.kitty wells!r.i.p*

    July 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  34. KM

    Kitty Wells and other country artists who can't carry a tune in a bucket are the reasons I hate country music to this day. Horrible voice, horrible lyrics, and clownish clothes.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • John With a Public School Education

      What an awful person you are. What kind of mother raised a thing like you?

      July 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • So Fu(king What

      km u r the reason I hate u. No brains and no respect. You suck.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tzckrl

      KM, that's a clown opinion. KMA.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Toss Pot

      Just stick to your Britney, your Bieber, your (c)Rap. Take your auto-tune and shove it up your crab filled @ss.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Achmed Van Hezbollah

      Interesting. You've just described todays pop & rap stars to a T.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      KM, you are an idiot, with no taste in true american music. Go listen to Madonna. She will be forgotten in 10 years.

      July 17, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • PuzzledInPeoria

      To the KMs of this world: I'm sorry you're so filled with hate and viciousness that you feel compelled to insult everybody and everything. You really need to do some serious thinking about straightening out your life. Kitty Wells was a breakthrough talent, a gracious woman who respected her fans. She was a legend in authentic country music.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I understand that the only music you could possibly listen to is country but also understand that the only music you want to listen to is the music that you can only hear are the words being screeched at you. That is not music. Music is what Kitty Wells did, music is what civilized people listen to, and that is something that you would not understand. I am also sure that you could not carry at tune so keep your rude comments to yourself. Kitty Wells was the Queen of Country Music, something she earned, and that is something you nor anyone else ignorant to her voice could not nor will ever understand. RIP Kitty, you have certainly earned the rest and you have earned your wings, so fly high you and Johnny certainly deserve it, your wings and crown await you.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • RMA

      KM, you appear to be one of the many disrespectful little internet punks that populate this world.

      May God have mercy on your soul.......

      July 17, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      KM, she's the reason you don't like country music? You might be interested in hearing that you (and folks like you) are the reason blogs like this one are becoming worthless garbage. Why don't you just grow up a little. If your folks couldn't teach you, then ask someone to explain the basic rules of politeness and social courtesy. There's no excuse for behaving like a "KM."

      July 17, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Gregoracdc

      Wow, KM. Can you show your ignorance a little more? You apparently don't know much about the history of country music and how singing styles have changed over the decades. Nor do you realize how groundbreaking Miss Wells' music was. "Clownish clothes"? Really? It was the 50s - maybe you should rent "Rebel without a Cause" or "Picnic" or watch an episode of "I Love Lucy" and see how people dressed back then.

      July 17, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • JB

      (km)You are a very unlikeable person. If you don't like country music why are you commenting. You sound like trash anyway.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jersey

    When I was a Pre-pubescent teenager, and called I.d. wasn't yet invented, we'd have fun making crank phone calls and hang up on PPL. That was such fun..... Today Pre-pubescent teenagers log onto CNN and do the same. Moral of the story, dont take them seriously, because they are just dumb kids like we once were. Just laugh at them and move on.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Tom

    Any living person who has great-great grandchildren is pure trash.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenny

      You're a sick puppy.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |

      Get some professional help ~ soon. Very soon.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • TREVOR

      Well , good ole Tom must be a country boy....I'd say with maybe a 5th grade education!!!!!!!!

      July 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Great-Great-Grandson

      Who the H3ll are you to decide THAT?

      July 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      And you're an expert about trash , right? RIP Kitty.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveND

      Child, troll elsewhere. I feel sorry for anyone who had trash for parents that didn't teach them manners

      July 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Tom: Why don't you go join the Westboro Baptist Church if you enjoy insulting someone who just died so much.

      You don't know who she is, do you?

      Much like the Westboros know nothing of the dead person they are condemning.

      I don't know what rocks you people climb out from under.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      ..and anyone that would make such a stupid remark should rot in a sewer until gagged to death.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • PaulC

      Did the voices also tell you that Elvis is alive?

      July 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jersey

      Tom here, is a perfect example of a prepubescent teenager. That is mentally, anyway. It's his crank call, if you will. Gee Tom, I hear your mother calling. Time to do that homework..... Off you go.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • debbie

      Tom– Just what the heck kind of IGNORANT – REDNECK comment is that to make? Having great great grandchildren only means that they lived a very long life and their great grandchildren had children. You are one IGNORANT STUPID PIECE OF WHITE TRASH IF EVER THERE WAS ONE .....oh yeah, by the way how many children do you have (hope you are not actually breeding).

      July 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • What's wrong with people like Tom?

      To Tom: Dude, you obviously can't do simple math. Each of the women in her family's subsequent generations had kids at around 23 (an average), for Kitty to have had great-great-grandchildren at 92. What kind of du mb f* ck thinks that people 23 years old having kids is "white trash"? I might be concerned if she was 56 and a great-great-grandmother, that would mean the women in her family having babies at maybe 14 or 15 years old, which just screams no parental supervision, or no education (which incidentally isn't a characteristic of just "white trash", try black, hispanics AND whites, just about everyone with no parental supervision or no education, or low socio-economic status!)...Tom – get out in the world, get some life experience, read a few books, look around you, do some observation...THEN you might be able to make intelligent comments (but I somehow doubt it)!!!

      July 17, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  37. Hey

    Who the hell....?

    July 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Céleste

    Not a fan of country music and no disrespect, but, I thought she was dead already. ~R.I.P~

    July 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I guess that post just proves you are not only a jerk, but an uninformed one.

      July 17, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  39. £

    @Dave...lmao ¡

    July 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  40. LeighVA

    Wow, she was elderly. I didn't even know she was still alive. At any rate, I remember my parents having an album or two of her's in their country music collection. Didn't know her music that well since she wasn't part of my generation. At any rate, may she be at peace. I'm sure her family is grieved at her passing. So sad.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  41. £

    @Dave...lmao !

    July 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Bill

    No one had a greater voice than Patsy Cline, period! No debate. No argument. End of discussion.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Molly Brown're missing the point here. Kitty Wells was the first female singer to earn respect by recording a hit song. Elvis was given the moniker "King of Rock & Roll" when others in the field like B.B. King and current day musicians such as Mick Jagger certainly rock louder and can sing better. It's all about who did it first, not who is the best in his/her field.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Oh, I'm sure I could debate and argue with you about your comment but what would be the point? You have your opinion and I have mine. Just keep enjoying her songs 🙂

      July 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      I agree 110%. Kitty was good, but Patsy, well she was the best, period.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Bob

    This story really should be getting more play from the media. This woman was a legend and a pioneer and deserves more respect than passing mention.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  44. tia

    Goodness every time you turn around a celebrity is dying. At least its mostly people who are 77 or up.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Every day it seems.. Its like the lights are starting to be turned off one by one.. Very sad..

      July 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Real Country

    Who cares what a no-talent hack like Kellie Pickler has to say?

    July 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • PChouinard

      She wrote something out of respect, and it actually made sense. You may not care, but she did (and so do I).

      July 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |

      Well, aren't you just a breath of fresh air?

      July 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I think it's safe to say a lot more people care about Ms. Pickler's comments tahn about yours. Man, that makes you pretty low on the totem pole of life, doesn't it?

      July 17, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  46. warren

    musicians are dropping like flies. What is going on?

    July 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They get old and die just like everyone else.

      July 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenny

      TO DAVE: No, not all of them get old and die, dude. I can think of 2 musicians, Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees (53 years old, and NO not of drugs or alcohol), and his twin Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees (and, again, not of drugs or alcohol). So, in your obituary, just have your loved ones put down "died of being "old". Yes, you'll be one of those old people one day. And sooner than you think.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      To Kenny: Ooooops forgot the drug overdoses :/ Sorry about that.
      But seriously, I was just making a generic comment. they are really no different than everyone else when it comes right down to it. They get diseases and medical issues as well. Somehow people seem to think they are immortal until, POOF, they're gone.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Efe

      Dear Donna thanks so much for wriintg and for taking an interest in HEART of Tucson. If you look at our blog article Attention All Horse Lovers' this will give you an update on what we were told about the colts. We will continue to update the blog on Kitty, as well as other rescues that we get in. Take care. HEART of Tucson

      August 14, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  47. Kenny

    Kitty Wells was the queen of country for a lot of years. I still have cassette tapes of her. There was never a voice like hers. RIP, Kitty. You've gone home now.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joyce

      Yes, Kenny, America has lost a wonderful lady. Miss Kitty Wells, we will miss you and your special voice! R I P. You have earned it!

      July 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • KM

      I'm glad there was not another voice like hers. We did not need the first one !!

      July 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • So Fu(king What

      km we don't need your voice either. I hope you get hit by a bus full of geezers on their way to Vegas.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |

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