Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 7 February 2024


Toby Keith (1961-2024)

Toby Keith, 62, died the evening of February 5, peacefully and surrounded by family. He had been battling stomach cancer for almost two years. He was born in Clinton, Oklahoma on July 8, 1961. MusicRow reports he got his first guitar when he was eight, and he formed the Easy Money Band at age 20. He worked in the oil fields and then played defensive end with the semi-pro Oklahoma City Drillers while continuing to perform with his band. Moving to Nashville in the early ’90s, he made a vow that he would get a record deal by the time he was 30 or he would quit. His first hit came with “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” in 1993. The many hits that followed included “I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight,” “I Wanna Talk About Me.” “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American),” “Beer for My Horses,” and “How Do You Like Me Now?” Toby was also a member of the New York-based Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He performed on 11 USO Tours across 18 countries and was recognized with the Spirit of the USO Award in 2014. His annual golf classics to fund the Toby Keith Foundation and help children dealing with critical illnesses brought in nearly $18 million. Toby is survived by his wife of 40 years, Tricia Lucus, and three children. Memorial services have not yet been announced.

Margo Smith Cammeron, 84, died January 23 in Franklin, Tennessee, due to complications from a stroke two days earlier. Born Bette Lou Miller in 1939, she was an Ohio kindergarten teacher who started performing professionally in her mid-thirties. Under her married name, Bette Smith, she sang at PTA meetings and on local radio broadcasts while teaching at Westlake Elementary School in New Carlisle, Ohio. She went to Nashville in 1975 to record “There I Said It,” a self-penned song that reached number eight on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart under the name Margo Smith. In 1978, “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You” and “It Only Hurts for a Little While” became number one Billboard country singles. In 1982, Margo divorced her husband and married businessman Richard Cammeron, who became her manager. In the mid-1990s, she and daughter Holly had several Christian-country hits as “Margo Smith and Holly.” Margo was part of the Grand Ladies of Country Music Show in Branson for many years. She also performed in The Villages, Florida, where she lived year-round. She is survived by her husband, Richard Cammeron, along with her four children and their families.

Alana Young posted on Facebook on February 2: “My beautiful Mom, Hilda, passed away today. She will no longer be in pain, so thank God for that peace. I was blessed beyond measure to have a Mother whose job it was to be a Mom. She loved unconditionally, protected fiercely, taught amazing lessons, helped with any & all needs of her children and grandchildren and all, always selflessly. Rest in Peace Mom.” Hilda Macon Young, 86, was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1937. Her mother married an American soldier in 1949, and they came to the USA. Hilda was married to Faron Young for 32 years and together they had four children. She is survived by Robyn (Bonnie), Kevin (Beth), and Alana (Sam), along with Robyn’s sons, Christopher (Roberta) and Taylor (Lizzie). Her eldest son, Damion, predeceased her. Rev. Taylor Young presided over his grandmother’s funeral at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home in Nashville on February 6. In lieu of flowers, the family requests charitable donations in Hilda’s honor can be made to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

The Jo Walker-Meador Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Jeannie Seely at the SOURCE Hall of Fame Awards on August 27 at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The award recognizes Jeannie’s numerous career achievements and significant contributions to the music industry. SOURCE President Kari Barnhart says in a press release, “Jeannie’s dedication to her music, work as a radio host, long-time membership of the Grand Ole Opry, and willingness to mentor and guide emerging female artists speaks to who she is. She deserves to be celebrated and honored with the Jo Walker-Meador Lifetime Achievement Award.” A longtime advocate for artists’ benefits and rights, Jeannie has served on the Board of Directors for SAG-AFTRA and the Opry Trust Fund. She is the only female to receive an honorary Nashville Musicians Union lifetime membership. SOURCE is the longest-running organization for females in the music industry in Nashville and is dedicated to fostering relationships and opportunities through continuous education, networking, and community service initiatives. Candidates for the Jo Walker-Meador Lifetime Achievement Award must have not only contributed to the Nashville entertainment industry but have made significant contributions outside of Nashville and Internationally, bringing attention to the Nashville entertainment industry. Previous recipients are Jo Walker-Meador (2004), Brenda Lee (2006), and Frances Preston (2010).

Suffering from kidney failure, Ernest Ray Lynn, 69, son of Loretta Lynn, underwent surgery in January. His wife, Crystal, reported on Facebook that the operation “regarding his kidney failure & dialysis needs didn’t yield good results.” Because of that, he had to undergo another operation. “It is a lifesaving and life sustaining operation, so we desperately need it to work this time so that they don’t have to take more drastic measures,” she wrote. “We ask you to please pray specifically for his new device to start working for us tomorrow.” She later reported Ernie was doing well, thanks in large part to all the prayers.

The Country Radio Seminar (CRS) 2024 Artist Humanitarian Award goes to Kane Brown, to be presented during CRS Honors on February 29. MusicRow reports the award was created to honor a country artist who dedicates time, talent, and resources that improve the effectiveness and impact of philanthropic efforts. Kane’s philanthropic endeavors focus on underprivileged youth, especially in supporting the Boys & Girls Club of America. In October 2022, he was awarded the BGCA’s Champion of Youth accolade in recognition of his significant contributions.

According to a January 31 Facebook post, Tony Booth has embarked on a new adventure, something he says he hasn’t done since high school: “I auditioned and was accepted into the Bay Area Chorus, a 110+ member Chorus founded in 1965, the oldest in the Houston area. We do a variety of music, from the Classics (Mozart) to Broadway, (Leonard Bernstein). We sing in foreign languages at times. To say I’m excited is an understatement.” The first full concert is May 5, and Tony extends an invitation “to come and share this with me.” Tickets will go on sale soon. He adds, “No, I’m not giving up my Country Music. I’d venture to guess I’m the only country singer in the bunch. I’ll be singing Bass in case you were wondering.”

USA Today reports all charges have been dropped against Chris Young, following his arrest at the Dawg House Bar in Nashville. He was facing charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and assault on an officer. “After a review of all the evidence in this case, the office of the district attorney has determined that these charges will be dismissed,” Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said in a statement. Young’s attorney, Bill Ramsey, said Young should have never been arrested. He called on the Tennessee ABC to apologize “for the physical, emotional and professional harm done towards my client.” He released a Dawg House video that shows Young reaching toward the agent’s shoulder and the agent shoving Young back. He trips over a barstool and falls to the ground. “Mr. Young and I are gratified with the DA’s decision clearing him of the charges and any wrongdoing,” Ramsey stated.

The Sixth Annual “Daryle Singletary Keeping It Country Jam” takes place at The Nashville Palace on February 13, reports MusicRow. A dozen performers are scheduled at the unofficial kickoff to The National Wild Turkey Federation’s Convention and Sport Show. Daryle Singletary died from a blood clot, at age 46, in 2018. His hit songs included “I’m Living Up to Her Low Expectations”, “I Let Her Lie,” “Too Much Fun,” and “Amen Kind of Love.” His widow, Holly Singletary, appreciates the opportunity to reconnect with Daryle’s friends and to keep his name and legacy alive. She says, “I am grateful every year for the artists who agree to perform and help us raise money for the Daryle Singletary Memorial Trust.”

TMZ first reported that Darius Rucker was taken into custody mid-morning on February 1 in Williamson County, Tennessee, on three misdemeanor charges: two counts of simple possession of a controlled substance and one count of driving with expired tags on his car. He posted bail and was released within an hour. TMZ then updated its reporting to say he turned himself in after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest. He’d been pulled over for an expired vehicle registration on February 19, 2023, and police noticed the smell of marijuana. Citing probable cause, they searched him and his vehicle, with his cooperation. He was released without being arrested, pending investigation of unmarked pills discovered in the search. They were later identified as Psilocin, a Schedule I controlled substance, and an arrest warrant was issued in December. Darius turned himself in on February 1 and was promptly released on $10,000 bond.

Here’s a well-written Saving Country Music article about how the Grand Old Opry treats misbehaving stars and whether there’s a double standard. It impressed me with its research and attitude.

Top country winners at the 2024 Grammy Awards were Chris Stapleton and Lainey Wilson. Chris won Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song, both for “White Horse.” Lainey, during her first-ever Grammy Awards ceremony, won Best Country Album for Bell Bottom Country. Taylor Swift won overall Album of the Year for her 2022 Midnights album. The Boot reports it was her fourth win in the category, and she made history by surpassing Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon, who each won Album of the Year three times.

Boygenius, the female rock trio consisting of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, attended the 2024 Grammy Awards with seven nominations and dressed in matching white suits with pink carnations. Baker explained, “We’re going for prom.” Dacus added that the look referenced one of their lyrics, which referenced musician Elliott Smith, “who was referencing Marty Robbins. There’s a lot of levels to it.” Dacus wrote “We’re in Love,” which contains the lyrics, “If you rewrite your life, may I still play a part? / In the next one, will you find me? / I’ll be the boy with the pink carnation . . ..” Bridgers explains, “There’s a Marty Robbins song my grandmother used to love, and it’s like, ‘A white sport coat and a pink carnation. I’m all alone at the dance…’ And Lucy’s song is about trying to connect with somebody in another life — and how would you find that person? ‘I’ll be the boy with a pink carnation.’” According to Far Out Magazine, the trio wore the pink carnations as a tribute to musician Elliott Smith who died in 2003. He had wanted to wear a pink carnation with his white suit at the Oscars. How great it is that young rock musicians recognize Marty Robbins!

The estate of George Richey, who was married to Tammy Wynette at the time of her death, is suing Showtime over its 2022 miniseries George & Tammy, reports MusicRow. Richey’s heirs are his widow, Sheila Slaughter Richey, and their daughter, Tatum Keys Richey. They contend his portrayal in the series disparages and villainizes him, which violates a previous non-disparagement agreement with Georgette Jones, who wrote the memoir The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George and was a consulting producer. Georgette, while not named as a defendant, had earlier signed a settlement agreement with the estate not to defame or disparage Richey. The lawsuit claims Paramount Networks was aware of the non-disparagement agreement and should not have allowed the miniseries to paint Richey as an abusive husband who encouraged Wynette’s painkiller addiction and manipulated her finances. The suit asks for Paramount and Showtime to be forced to withdraw George & Tammy from distribution and provide restitution to be determined in a trial.


Karon Kohn Hamilton says, “As usual you wrote a great newsletter. Thanks. I have seen Wilson Fairchild in person and they are really good. The humor and the stories are great. Their dads should be so proud.”

Michael Green writes, “Great newsletter as always. Great to read about Wilson Fairchild. Don Reid hasn’t been posting or blogging lately, and I hope he’s well. I’ve wondered how Phil Balsley is doing. And I’m eagerly awaiting your Randy Travis biography … and maybe even a photo of the bread truck!”

Mary Mitchell writes, “Wow what a great letter. I love Wilson Fairchild. Great interview. I want to mention that Carl Smith is still my favorite. Private wholesome, great singer with a great band. You mentioned Carlene and I must say, she was more Cash than Smith. When in London she was really into drugs. When she sings, she just jumps around. I am sure Carl was not too happy with her. When I see a video of Carl singing it makes tears. He left too soon. I will miss him until I am gone. He was nice to look at, too. RIP my friend.”

Doug Lippert in Carmel, Indiana, says, “So thrilled to read that Carlene Carter has some shows and is sharing her music live again. I fell in love with her many years ago and she’s lived more of life than any one person should have to. I wish her all the best as she embarks for the British Isles. With a little luck we will see her stateside this summer.”

Tom Barton says, “A little late, but may I add my nomination for the saddest song? Roger Miller’s ‘What I’d Give To Be the Wind’ is the best!”

Don Holland writes from Kissimmee, Florida, “I sincerely believe the top ten saddest songs of all time were all Hank Williams songs, and ‘I Dreamed About Mama Last Night’ was the saddest one of all.”

June Thompson says, “What a fun and newsy letter, thanks. I have many, but I think the two saddest country songs are George Jones’s ‘Where Grass Won’t Grow’ and Merle Haggard’s ‘In My Next Life.’ I reckon it’s because I come from hardscrabble farming folks, and I count that worthy. So much gloomage, but there’s a much brighter side. Thank The Lord. Smile.”

David Corne in England says, “With regards to the most depressing songs in country music I wouldn’t go any further than the Louvin Brothers ‘Knoxville Girl’ or Wille Nelson’s ‘I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye.’ Willie’s song was produced by Chet Atkins surprisingly and it only stayed on the Billboard chart for two weeks before it disappeared. ‘Knoxville Girl’ lasted for seven weeks. I just find both songs so unsavory and unnecessarily exploitative of life’s greatest sin. Then I could easily have suggested two by Ferlin Husky. Let me take you back to his greatest hits album wherein were contained the equally awful ‘The Drunken Driver’ and ‘Little Tom’ (charted position seven on Billboard). The reaction in our house to those tracks was unadulterated laughter as Ferlin really laid the pathos on so thickly that my brother Bob and I were in fits of laughter and we would spin those two tracks whenever relatives showed up. Not necessarily to get rid of them, but to see if they laughed as much as we did. All the songs are on YouTube unfortunately. I really like this. I came across this and wondered if you’d seen the clip which is from South Korea: Don’t worry about me / 조영남 / 뽕숭아학당 18회

Diane: No, I hadn’t heard that South Korean version. I enjoyed listening to it.

Carolyn Berry in Charlottesville, Virginia, writes, “I just want to say it is very sad to me that Twitty City is being destroyed. Conway was my very favorite country singer. It was sad to me when I visited Twitty City after TBN bought it. All that was left of Conway was his desk. I think there are two very sad songs, both by George Jones, one of them with Tammy Wynette. They are ‘Golden Ring’ and ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today.’ Thanks again for your great newsletter.”

Jean Earle writes “from a sunny but chilly England”, “Thank you for your newsletter. As usual we enjoyed reading all of your lovely interesting news. I’m afraid old age is catching up on me. I don’t seem to be able to keep up with my usual email writings. I know that on January 29th Alana and Sam will be celebrating their wedding Anniversary. I have tried to send our best wishes, but I am not sure they are getting through to the happy couple. I know how busy Alana is and she must still be concerned about Sam after his car accident. May I ask you to kindly give our love and best wishes to Alana and Sam. We hope the news on Hilda is happier now. She has had a difficult time. Like Hilda, I am the wrong side of 86 years.”

Jean Earle sends this note about the death of Hilda Young: “Sadly we have been expecting this for a while. Hilda was a lovely, kindhearted, thoughtful lady. We met her back in 1975 on our very first visit to Nashville. We had met someone who knew Faron and when he heard we had just flown out from England with the hopes that we might meet our special HERO, he very kindly offered to drive us up to Faron’s house. I said he Drove us up…I think I was floating!!! Faron was at the front of his lovely home…mowing his grass…I actually have a picture to prove it. Faron welcomed us and then invited us in to meet his family. Hilda greeted us warmly and their little daughter Alana held my hand and wanted to show me her SWING in the garden. I was absolutely SPEEECHLESS. I am sure many, many folk in Nashville will be very sad to hear the sad news.”

Eric Calhoun offers “some thoughts on this past newsletter”: “I’m glad to see Mark Chesnut back out there, I was wondering what had happened to him. Barbara Mandrell’s digital album being re-released? That’s great! I got into Southern Gospel, the same way I got into country music, by enjoying what the singers brought out. Congratulations to Barbara! Chris Young’s charges for his arrest have been dropped. Though the Tennessean always mentioned it, I don’t know whatever became of the property of the Courtyard Cafe, 867 Bell Road, in Antioch, TN. They had country acts performing in that venue. And, finally, I’m glad to hear LeAnn Rimes is recovering from what was nearly cancerous cells in her body. I have been amazed by her all-around singing in the past. She has been through a lot.

Hillary Lindsey, I’m glad she’s entering the Hall of Fame as a songwriter. I can still remember the controversy over ‘Girl Crush,’ but it was a multi-million-dollar smash for Little Big Town. I still remember the whole idea of the meaning of Girl Crush: a girl obsessing over a girl to whom the guy she is with. Congratulations, Hill!”

Donald Ewert in Milwaukee writes, “I have become such a big fan of June Stearns. Recently I found several of her records on eBay, including ‘Just Another Song’ on which her duet partner is a talking steel guitar. I think Pete Drake was the one playing it. Also another record of June’s I found is the record she did with Lefty Frizzell entitled ‘Have I Ever Been Untrue’ b/w ‘If You’ve Got The Money.’ They recorded this song under their real first names of Agnes & Orville. This song can be found on You Tube. I got an address from someone for June, so I wrote her a letter and got a nice reply back from her.”

Mike McCloud says, “THANK YOU STACEY. I appreciate your answer to my question. At least I know the Chet Atkins statue is in a safe place. I am very disgusted by Elle King’s behavior on the Grand Ole Opry on January 19. First, let me say it’s a good thing Mr. Acuff wasn’t there that night. He would have gotten her off that stage with QUICKNESS!!! And that line about u paid money for this sh.t. When did an Opry performance ever become sh.t? Mr. Acuff would NOT for one SECOND put up with using the F word on that stage. I’m glad he wasn’t there. I would give almost anything in this world to have the chance to sing on that stage. I DO NOT drink or do ANY drugs. I respect that grand Ole Opry. She should, too. SHAME ON HER!!! SHAME ON HER!!!!”

Mike Johnson of Roughshod Records says, “Still enjoying your info packed issues, while knee-deep in projects here. So sad hearing about Jo-El Sonnier’s recent passing. I used to enjoy listening to him, though I never got a chance to see him in person. So sad, Elle King’s disrespect for the Grand Ole Opry and the fans attending Dolly Parton’s birthday tribute. I hope she’s barred from ever appearing on their stage again. We have made the decision to offer my 114 song Yodel Song Archives for sale for a limited time this summer. Good old Sherwin Linton I see is still kicking it. I first met him and his wife, Pamela, at the 1999 Old Time Country Music Festival in Avoca, Iowa, and several times thereafter at more festivals. Pamela, Terry Smith, and I were among those inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame by the National Traditional Country Music Association in 2002. Looking forward to your next issue.”

Dominique ‘Imperial’ Anglares writes from France, “Thanks for that welcome newsletter and for the information shared with us. Sorry to know about Jo-El Sonnier passing at the age of 77. Just in case if you don’t know, I am sorry to let you know my friend Phyllis Jean (Deen) Hill, 78, passed away January 7, 2023, at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, after an unexpected illness. Here is information taken from her obituary. She was born Dec. 29, 1945, in Hammond, Indiana. She spent most of her childhood moving around the country from New York to California. Phyllis’ family were talented musicians who took several trips to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend the Grand Ole Opry and meetings of the Chet Atkins Fan Club. She was fascinated with Music City and considered Nashville a magical place. As an adult, she tried to convince her husband to take his guitar playing talents to Nashville, but when he refused, they divorced and she moved to Nashville on her own. One of her first jobs in Nashville was answering the phone at WSM Radio for Ralph Emery’s all-night radio show. In November of 1972, Phyllis and Ralph had a baby boy that she named Phillip Hill, giving him her previously married last name to protect Ralph Emery’s reputation. Phyllis continued to work in the country music industry for the next 50+ years and raised her son as a single mother in Nashville. Some of her notable places of employment included Screen Gems Music, Ovation Records, The Nashville Network cable television channel, the Nashville Musicians Union, and for the last 20 years, Sun Records. Some of Rock ‘n Roll and Country Music’s biggest stars knew Phyllis personally and considered her a friend.”


The fifth out-of-print biography published in the cooperative effort between the Country Music Foundation Press and the University of Illinois Press is The Life and Times of Patsy Cline by Margaret Jones. It’s been long enough since I read the original book, under the title of Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline, that it was like reading it for the first time. This version contains everything but the discography. Jones interviewed many of Patsy’s contemporaries and draws heavily upon their memories, including Owen Bradley, Faron Young, Brenda Lee, Johnny Western, Dottie West, Harlan Howard, and Barbara Mandrell. The foreword was written by Loretta Lynn. Jones did a more thorough job than the other Cline biographies I’ve read, and I highly recommend this one.


Based on the above mention of the Country Music Hall of Fame, which opened in 1967, I must have been a senior in high school when I sewed and embroidered this wall hanging. It still hangs on the bedroom wall in our farmhouse. Kayo recently sent me this photo and suggested I should publish it in my newsletter to show my life-long love of country music. I’m not sure where I came up with the design or why I chose these eleven names for the radio waves. Carl Smith is a given. I fell in love with him at age five, when my family attended his concert in Watertown. The others I’d only heard on radio and seen on TV. Who knew I’d someday write the biographies of Faron and Marty? At the time, the idea of visiting Nashville, or seeing any of these singers in person, was a distant dream. Starting at the upper right, in clockwise order, the names are: Johnny Cash, Charley Pride, Hank Williams, Faron Young, Roy Acuff, Buck Owens, Marty Robbins, Ray Price, Sonny James, Merle Haggard, and Carl Smith.


I first met Hilda Young when I was beginning my research for Faron Young’s biography. She invited me to her house for an interview on April 8, 2000. After that, I stopped by for a visit on most of my Nashville trips. When my daughters and I were travelling across the country to my new duty station in 2002, Hilda offered to let them go trick-or-treating in her neighborhood so they wouldn’t miss Halloween. Once she could no longer live alone, she moved in with her daughter, Alana. In 2019, Kayo and I visited them at Alana’s home, and we last saw Hilda when she was in a rehab facility. She went into hospice care in December and died February 2, 2024. She was 86 years old.


Kye Fleming, born Rhonda Kye Fleming in Pensacola, Florida, in 1951, has been writing songs since age 14. She grew up as a “Navy brat” and spent her early twenties singing her songs on the folk music circuit. She moved to Nashville in 1977, where she started writing songs with Dennis Morgan. Their hits included “Years,” “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” and “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” for Barbara Mandrell, “Smoky Mountain Rain” and “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World” for Ronnie Milsap, “Roll on Mississippi” for Charley Pride, and “Nobody” for Sylvia. She later wrote “Give Me Wings” with Don Schlitz, a hit for Michael Johnson. She is one of the most-awarded songwriters in country music history. She also wrote material for TV shows Murder She WroteBarbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, and Sonny & Cher. Kye Fleming is 72 years old.

Mark D. Sanders, born in 1950 in Los Angeles, California, earned a degree in English literature and was teaching high school English when he decided to become a professional songwriter at the age of 29. Playing guitar and writing songs stopped being hobbies. He moved to Nashville in the early 1980s, driving a tour bus at Conway Twitty’s Twitty City theme park to earn an income while playing writers’ nights. After signing with Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Publishing, he co-wrote such hits as “Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy” (Garth Brooks),”I’d Rather Ride Around with You (Reba McEntire), “Daddy’s Money” (Ricochet), and “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing” (Trace Adkins). In 1996, he had ten co-written cuts and five #1 hits, including George Strait’s “Blue Clear Sky,” Faith Hill’s “It Matters to Me,” Rhett Akins’ “Don’t Get Me Started,” and Lonestar’s “No News,” winning the NSAI Songwriter of the Year Award. In 2000, he and Tia Sillers wrote “I Hope You Dance” for Lee Ann Womack, followed by a book based on the song; it sold over two million copies. In the 21st century, he has had hits by Josh Turner, Martina McBride, Joe Diffie, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, and Joe Nichols. He also sponsors a yearly benefit, Hats Off To High Hopes, to raise money for special-needs children. Mark Sanders is 73 years old.

Virginia Wynette Pugh, born in Mississippi in 1942, is known to the world as Tammy Wynette. Raised on a Mississippi cotton farm, she earned a beautician’s license to pay her bills while pursuing a singing career. In 1966, she moved to Nashville as a divorced mother of three, and Billy Sherrill signed her to Epic Records. As her producer, he persuaded her to record under the name of Tammy Wynette. They co-wrote several of her hits. Her other songwriting collaborators included Norro Wilson, Earl “Peanut” Montgomery, Glen Sutton, and her fifth husband, George Richey. Those songs included “‘Til I Can Make It on My Own,” “These Days I Barely Get By,” and “Two Story House.” About writing “Stand by Your Man,” she often said she spent 15 minutes writing it and a lifetime defending it. At age 55, she died in her sleep in 1998, the year she was being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her funeral in the Ryman Auditorium was televised worldwide on CNN.

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