Today’s music video is It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, sung here in this clip by Kitty Wells.
This video was posted to You Tube by manbehindthescreen1
Look at the Country Music charts these days and you’ll see that most of the songs are from female artists, and more often than not, the Number One Single is from a female singer. The way was paved for them by those Country singers from earlier times, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and a number of other of those big names from yesteryear.
However, even those big names owe their success to Kitty Wells, the original ‘Queen Of Country Music’. In fact, Kitty Wells is the sixth most successful female vocalist in the history of Country Music charts.
This featured song for today was her first hit, and was released in 1952. She had been around for a few years and was actually thinking of retirement when she was offered this song, one she almost refused at first, but she wanted the $125 session fee for recording the song.
While the melody was used in three earlier songs, the biggest of them was the Hank Thompson song The Wild Side Of Life. This Kitty Wells song is the reply to that Hank Thompson song. Kitty didn’t think that the song was going to be a hit.
However, it shot up the Country Charts outselling the Hank Thompson song even, and it eventually reached Number One on those Country Music Charts. This was the first song performed by a female solo Country Music singer to actually achieve that feat of making Number One.
At the time the song was released, it was considered to be a daring song, especially as the Country Music genre was virtually completely dominated by men, in every sector, as singers, bands, and in the recording industry for Country Music itself. You need to remember that this was 10 years before the Women’s Liberation Movement even started.
In fact, the song was so daring, it was banned by many radio stations as being too controversial. NBC had banned the song for the following line, if you can actually believe this:
“It brings back memories of when I was a trustful wife”.
Kitty agreed to alter the wording and NBC lifted the ban after she changed the word trustful to trusting. It’s almost hard to believe. Even the Grand Ole Opry banned the playing of the song at first. However, the people just couldn’t get enough of the song, and after early sales reached 800,000 even they relented and asked her to sing the song at the Opry. When it reached Number One on the charts, it became the first song by a solo female artist to do that in the 8 year history of those charts.
This song catapulted Kitty Wells to fame and for a number of years, she was the premier female Country Star. All the others followed after her, and the process of women singing songs in this vein was started by Kitty Wells.
Kitty sadly passed away in July of last year, (2012) but there is one thing about Kitty Wells that is astounding. Five days before her 18th birthday, in 1937, she married Johnnie Wright, who backed her up on guitar for all her singing career. They were married until Johnnie passed away eight months before Kitty also passed away. They were married for 33 days short of 74 years, not only rare for any couple, but they had one of the longest celebrity marriages in history.
So, while Kitty Wells may be a name not many recall, she was the one who took the first steps that paved the way for the plethora of female Country artists who followed.
This song has been covered by a number of other artists over the years, and no one was more surprised that this song became a hit, let alone the First Number One for a female Country singer.
It wasn’t God who made honky tonk angels
As you say in the words of your song.
Too many times married men think they’re still single
And that’s caused many a good girl to go wrong.
It’s a shame that all the blame is on us women,
It’s not true that only you, men, feel the same.
From the start most every heart that’s been broken
Was because there always was a man to blame.