Wynette, Tammy (wĪnĕtˈ) [key], 1942–98, American singer and songwriter, often called "the first lady of country music," b. Itawamba, Co., Miss., as Virginia Wynette Pugh. She began singing on television in Birmingham, Ala., in 1965, and signed a recording contract after moving to Nashville in 1966. Her plaintive voice and melodic songs of life, love, and sorrow proved extremely popular, and she soon scored several hits including "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and "Stand by Your Man" (both: 1968), the latter a chart-topping blockbuster which she cowrote that became her signature tune. A major country artist from the 1960s to the 90s, Wynette achieved success as a single performer and in duets with a number of male country stars, notably George Jones, who was (1969–75) the third of her five husbands. During her career she racked up more than 20 number-one hits, made more than 50 albums, and sold more than $30 million worth of recordings. Her outstanding late albums include Honky Tonk Angels (1993), with fellow superstars Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, and One (1995), her last recording with Jones.
See her autobiography (1979); biography by J. McDonough (2010).