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On this Day in Movie History, July 16, 2012: Kitty Wells passes

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Kitty Wells, the Country Music Hall of Famer known as “The Queen of Country Music”, died Monday in Nashville of complications of a stroke. She was 92. It’s difficult to imagine what country music might have been without her and the song she recorded 60 years ago.

Her song Honky Tonk Angels was an “answer song” to Hank Thompson’s monster hit Wild Side of Life. With an identical melody to Thompson’s tune and lyrics that turned the gender tables: Where Wild Side of Life blamed a carousing woman for a man’s sorrow, Wells’ version blamed men for “every heart that’s ever broken.” Kitty Wells was the first solo female artist to top Billboard’s Country Charts, and It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels was a blockbuster.

Her other two Billboard country No. 1 hits were “One By One” (1954, duet with Red Foley) and “Heartbreak USA” (1961).

Her 1955 hit, “Makin’ Believe,” holds the record for most weeks at No. 2 on Billboard’s country charts (15 weeks) without going to No. 1. Wells would go on to score smashes including Release Me and Amigo’s Guitar, and she was the country music industry’s top female vocalist for 14 straight years

Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976. In 2003 she became the latest person inducted into the Native American Music Hall Of Fame.

In 2008 she was portrayed by singer Shawn Colvin in the film Crazy.

Her music appeared in the following soundtracks:

Country’s Greatest Stars Live: Vol. 1 (video) (performer: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

Crazy Heart (performer: “Searching for Someone Like You” 1955, “Searching For Someone Like You”)

Opry Video Classics: Queens (video) (performer: “Makin’ Believe”)

Neal Cassady (performer: “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore”)

Biography (TV series documentary)
– Mavericks: Honky Tonk Angels – The Women (2006) (performer: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

The Devil’s Rejects (performer: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

Silent Voyeur (performer: “Release Me” 1954)

Sunshine State (performer: “Makin’ Believe” 1954)

Men of Honor (performer: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

Bastard Out of Carolina (performer: “Searching For Someone Like You”)

Needful Things (performer: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

Northern Exposure (TV series)
– Brains, Know-How and Native Intelligence (1990) (performer: “Honky Tonk Angels”)

Mississippi Burning (performer: “Making Believe”)

Desert Hearts (performer: “AMIGOS GUITAR”, “IT WASN’T GOD WHO MADE HONKY TONK ANGELS”)

The Blues Brothers (performer: “YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART”)

Coal Miner’s Daughter (performer: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

50 Years of Country Music (TV movie) (performer: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

September 30, 1955 (performer: “Makin’ Believe”)

The Road to Nashville (performer: “A woman half my age”)

Flaming Creatures (“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”)

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