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Johnny Wright, Kitty Wells' husband, dies at 97

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.

More news for Kitty Wells

CD reviews for Kitty Wells

Forever Young
When Kitty Wells' album was first released in 1974, it was a flop. For the woman crowned the Queen of Country Music for her classic honky tonk twang, it was a risk to record this series of crossover songs. With songs by Bob Dylan and Otis Redding and musicians from the Southern Rock tradition, the release took Wells' fans too far out of their comfort zone, and it was promptly pulled from the marketplace. In this age when arguments abound regarding what is or is not country, this re-issue reminds »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: With or without band, Isbell satisfies – Usually, when an artist performs without his regular backing band, it becomes about mathematics of subtraction. That artist is armed with far fewer artistic weapons at his/her disposal, after all. In Jason Isbell's case, though, when he performed with just his wife and fiddler Amanda Shires, it was more about substitution than subtraction.... »»»
Concert Review: Grammy nominations aside, Yola, Kiah are the real deal – Grammy nominations do not make the artist, but Yola and opener Amythyst Kiah underscored time and again on this night that the honors were well deserved. In fact, Yola and Kiah's other group, Our Native Daughters, are nominated in the same category - Best American Roots. Yola has three other nominations as well. The clear winners... »»»
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