Born Virginia Wynette Pugh May 5th 1942 in Tremont, MS. Her father William passed away when she was 9 months old and her mother Mildred turned her over to her parents as she went to work for a defense plant during WWII. Wynette was raised by her grandparents in a house that had no indoor plumbing. Her father was a farmer and also enjoyed music and musical instruments which he left to his only child when he passed away. Wynette was an all star basketball player at Tremont High School, but she didn’t tap into her music talent till after she graduated. When she graduated she got married to Euple Byrd. He was a construction worker and she would go through several jobs such as waitressing, barmaid, and a worker in a shoe factory. She then decided to attend Beauty College in Tupelo. She left her husband right before their 3rd child was born. After the baby developed spinal meningitis she started performing to earn extra money for the baby.
She got her first break when Billy Sherrill decided to take a chance on her signing her up to Epic Records in 1966. Sherrill suggested a name change for performing and said that she had a resemblance to Debbie Reynolds in the Film “Tammy and the Bachelor, so Wynette ran with it and became Tammy Wynette. Her first single Apartment No. 9 just missed the top 40 in the Country charts in 1966. She went on to release a # of top 10 hits and in 1967 she won her first Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “I Don’t Wanna Play House.” Tammy was nicknamed “The First Lady of Country Music.”
She would have an extraordinary career, and is considered one of the best and most influential female Country singers. She was married to George Jones from 1969 to 1975, where they had a number of performances together. Tammy had various health problems throughout her life and her life was cut short in 1998 at age 55. She definitely left her mark on more than just the Country Music industry and her legacy will live on for years to come.
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