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Country Legend Kitty Wells Dies At 92

17 July 2012 | 1:17 pm | Dan Condon

One of the first female country music stars has passed away.

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Country darling Kitty Wells has passed away at the age of 92 in her home city of Nashville, Tennessee on Monday, US time.

Wells was one of the few country stars who was actually born and bred in the country music capital and appeared on her first recordings in 1949 with singles like Death At The Bar and Don't Wait For The Last Minute To Pray, but due to the male dominated nature of country music at the time, Wells found it difficult to establish an audience initially.

It was 1952's It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels that established Wells and the song which remains her signature song to this day. The song was banned by a number of radio stations as well as banned by the Grand Ole Opry due to the subject matter, Wells singing about infidelity and how it is not always the fault of women, a sentiment expressed in Hank Thompson's The Wild Side Of Life, a hit song of the time which Wells directly addresses in the first line of the song.

A huge number of US country hits followed this initial breakthrough; 1954's One By One (with Red Foley), 1955's Making Believe and 1961's Heartbreak U.S.A three of the big ones, though there was rarely a year between the release of that single through to the end of the 1960s that she didn't have a top ten country hit.

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Her influence on women in country music has been well acknowledged; in 1976 she became only the second woman to be inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame and she constantly polls as one of the top women in country music whenever such a list is compiled.

Wells passed away on Monday (US time) from complications of a stroke. She is survived by two of her three children, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. Her husband, singer-songwriter Johnnie Wright, passed away late last year at the age of 97 and her daughter Ruby passed in 2009 at 69 years of age.