Tuesday, September 27, 2011
– Johnny Wright, 97, the husband of Kitty Wells and one half of the recording duo Johnny & Jack, died today at 97 at his home in Madison, Tenn.
Born in Mount Juliet, Tenn., Wright first performed with Jack Anglin in 1936. In 1937, he married Wells, who was 18. The two, along with Wright's sister Louise, performed as Johnnie Wright & the Harmony Girls. In 1939, Wright and Anglin formed Johnnie & Jack. They teamed up full-time in the 1940s and, except for the time Anglin spent overseas during World War II, remained together for more than two decades.
In 1952, Johnnie & Jack's Poison Love led to them being on the Grand Ole Opry, where they and Wells were invited to join and stayed for 15 years. They continued having hits in the 1950s, including Stop the World (And Let Me Off). Following Anglin's death in an car accident in 1963 on his way to the funeral for Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and Randy Hughes. Wright continued performing and releasing records.
In 1964, he and his Tennessee Mountain Boys had a Top 25 hit with Walkin', Talkin', Cryin', Barely Beatin' Broken Heart. The following year, he had a big hit with Hello Vietnam, which went to number one. In 1968, he and Wells recorded an autobiographical duet, "We'll Stick Together" and continued playing live shows together through the early 1980s.
In 1992, the couple and their son Bobby began playing together again. On Dec. 31, 2000, the duo performed their farewell concert at the Nashville Nightlife Theater in Nashville.
Wright and Wells had three children, two daughters Ruby, who died in 2009, and Carol Sue and a son, Bobby. Each had minor success individually as recording artists. Both Bobby and Ruby performed as part of their parents' road tour for many years.