‘First lady of country’ Wynette is dead at 55

First woman to sell more than a million country records

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tammy Wynette, known as ”The First Lady of Country Music” and world-renowned for her hit ”Stand by Your Man,” died in her sleep at her Nashville home Monday, her management company said. She was 55.

Her 1968 recording of ”Stand By Your Man” figured in the 1992 U.S. presidential elections when Hillary Rodham Clinton said scornfully in a television interview that she was not defending her husband from adultery accusations because she was ”some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.”

The blonde Alabama-born singer, who left a beauty shop in Birmingham to break into the Nashville music business, cut her first single in 1966.

She became the first woman in the country music industry to sell more than a million records, for ”Stand By Your Man,” won the Country Music Association award for Top Female Vocalist three times and was twice honored with a Grammy.

Among her other big hits were ”D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and ”Two-Story House.” She and her third husband, George Jones, were famous for their musical collaborations, and for their fights. They reunited a few years ago to record a new album of duets.

Her fifth husband, George Richey, was her last manager.

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