One of country music's most iconic figures, the big-haired blonde Tammy Wynette will forever be remembered for the karaoke classic Stand By Your Man. Still at school when she married the first of her five husbands, Virginia Wynette Pugh trained as a cosmetician and worked as a waitress, a hairdresser, a barmaid and a shoemaker before she attracted any interest in her singing. In 1966 - when a single mother with three small children - she moved to Nashville, Tennessee where Billy Sherrill eventually signed her to Epic Records and changed her name to Tammy Wynette; and she broke into the country charts with her first two singles Apartment No 9 and Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad. She achieved her first US country Number 1, duetting with David Houston on My Elusive Dreams and won a Grammy Award in 1967 with I Don't Wanna Play House. Her golden year, however, was 1968, which produced five Number 1s, including D.I.V.O.R.C.E. and Stand By Your Man, reputedly written in 15 minutes by Wynette and Sherrill. Through the early 1970s Wynette was the queen of country music while her stormy marriage to the hard-drinking singer George Jones kept her in the headlines and provided her with plenty of juicy material. A rare country star with a strong international following, Wynette's faltering career enjoyed an unlikely resurgence when she teamed up with UK electronic group The KLF to return to the charts with the dance single Justified And Ancient. In 1993 she teamed up with fellow country stars Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton as the Honky Tonk Angels but, constantly plagued by ill-health, she died in 1998.
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