Kitty Wells, 1st female country superstar, dies

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Kitty Wells

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country singer Kitty Wells is being remembered as a pioneer who helped pave the way for the likes of Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood — among many others.

Says Country Music Hall of Famer Jean Shepard: “Without her there wouldn’t be a lot of us.”

The family of country music’s first female superstar says she died peacefully at home today after complications from a stroke. She was 92.

Wells scored the first country No. 1 hit by a solo female artist in the early 1950s with “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Her success dashed the notion that women couldn’t be headliners.

Wells recorded approximately 50 albums, had 25 Top 10 country hits and went around the world several times. From 1953 to 1968, various pols listed Wells as the No. 1 female country singer until Wynette finally dethroned her.

For who knew Wells, she was a powerful presence. Barbara Mandrell, a country superstar in her own right, said she appreciated Wells being a mentor, adding, “She led the way for all of us.”
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This article was provided by The Associated Press.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)