"Tammy Wynette, Mysteries from the Grave"
everybody, Sharon Haynes here
my featured artist of this month for Insider Viewpoint
Magazine is about Tammy Wynette.
Tammy Wynette, the name is
synonymous with being one of the greatest Country Music Singers and Writers of all time.
She also became a pop-cross over artist with multiple songs she sang and penned; Grammy
Award Recipient, CMA Female Vocalist of the Year (for several years), ACM Top Female
Vocalist; and so many accomplishments in the music industry that it is staggering.
The story begins in Itawamba
County, Mississippi on May 5, 1942 as a frail little country girl was born, "Wynette
Pugh." Her childhood was difficult and she was raised "picking cotton" for
Tammy was one of the 2500+
artists with whom THE JORDANAIRES recorded their famed background vocals. They performed
on almost every hit record that Tammy Wynette recorded, totaling an amazing forty-seven
sessions of at least four singles per session, on Epic Records. They contributed on such
great songs as "Stand by Your Man," "Your Good Girls Gonna Go
Bad," "He Loves Me All the Way," "I Dont Wanna Play House";
and a couple hundred others.
Additional musical recording
sessions with Tammy included seventeen sessions with her and George Jones ("Golden
Ring," "Were Gonna Hold On," "Near You" . . . and many
others). Besides recording sessions, they recorded a Pepsi commercial, a special
appearance at the White House, a Mardi Gras Event in New Orleans, and two Opryland
Concerts with her.
Gordon Stoker of
the Jordanaires says Tammy was "a sweet, kind person who was always obliging to
everyone including her fans." The Jordanaires greatly loved and admired Tammy and
were great friends. She was always inviting them to her house to cook them a good country
"Tammy always remembered draggin that bag of cotton behind her on her
grandparents farm. Because of these humble beginnings, Tammy also chose to keep her
hairdressers license as a just in case music business did not work out . . . even
years after she had many hit records."
Ray Walker, bass singer of
the Jordanaires, sold Tammy her first stretch-limousine after she had a couple hit
bought the royal-blue 1967 Cadillac Limousine from the Oak Ridge Boys and owned the car
for a few months when Tammy and her second husband Don Chapel wanted it, so Ray sold them
their first limousine.
I, Sharon Haynes, had the pleasure of working with Don
Chapel, it was my first "gig" in Nashville. Don and his son Mike offered me a
singing job in a couple of Nashville clubs, one at the famed Printers Alley. For several
days I did not realize I was working with Tammy Wynettes Ex-husband and Stepson.
Don and Mike both talked
about how much they loved Tammy. Both felt Don never received his due from his direct
involvement in the launching of her career. Don said, "I cleaned her up . . . when I
found her, she was skinny and nearly starving to death with three young daughters. She had
just moved to Nashville and was trying to pursue the path of Country Music Stardom. Tammy
was broke and no place to go. Don said, I took them in, fixed her teeth and bought her new
clothes for the introduction to Billy Sherrill, I insisted Billy hear her songs. Billie
immediately signed her to Epic Records."
Shortly afterwards George
Jones wanted to record duets with Tammy and reportedly fell in love with Tammy and decided
to take her away from Don. Don said, "George Jones walked into my house, took Tammy
by the arm and said, Im in love with your wife, and shes leaving with
me." Don and Tammys marriage ended and she married the already famous, George
I had the pleasure of
meeting Tammy Wynette in Wembley, England during a performance with The Jordanaires. They
billed us with Tammy and several Opry stars on the "International Country Music
Festival" held in the Wembley Stadium. As they were introducing me to Tammy, she gave
me a big smile and hug. I was so impressed. A star of her stature still remaining so open,
warm and approachable was impressive, she still revered the humbling effect of those
"cotton pickin days!"
A few months ago, during a
break from our show, I watched the Tammy Wynette Biography on A&E on TV. The very next
morning at 6:00 a.m. I awoke to the news that Tammy Wynette was dead. "How can that
be . . . Ive seen her all my life . . . DEAD?! A mother of four, a series of four
divorces and five marriages created tremendous pressures, stressed and coupled with work
expectations, the overall demands on her were monumental.
Various illnesses had driven
her, at times, to become addicted to prescription pain medication for which she received
therapy. What happened in her final moments of life and immediately following, is still a
mystery and the investigation is ongoing even today! The investigation is going to be
Tammy, I sing your
praises and salute you
you gave us love, kindness, and musictotally and
unselfishly. We will miss you. Whatever circumstances may unfold regarding passing at such
a young age will matter only on this side of lifefor now the Good Lord will keep her
in his care. She was a giver. The world will continue to enjoy her music, even after her
death, we will always hear that beautiful voice. Rest in Peace, Our Queen of Country