Virginia Wynette Pugh, better known as Tammy Wynette, achieved great fame as a country singer despite a life filled with struggle and heartache. She was raised mostly by her sharecropper grandparents in Itawamba County, Mississippi while her mother, Mildred (Russell) Pugh worked in Birmingham, Alabama. Tammy spent many hours picking crops along with other relatives, but desired so much more out of life.
Tammy's father, William Hollice Pugh, died when she was a baby. His Alabama roots included an extended family that loved singing, playing musical instruments, and performing. He was an entertainer on the local scene himself.
Quoting from Tammy's website, her father left her "a piano, a guitar and the dream that his daughter would make music her life..."
At seventeen, Tammy married Euple Byrd who was often unemployed. As a result, Tammy went to beauty school in Tupelo and got her beautician's license. Even after achieving great success in the music industry, Tammy kept her license current--just in case.
Tammy and Euple had three daughters.
At one point, Tammy and Euple were so poor they lived in a cabin without plumbing. Their relationship was stormy as well as their divorce and the child custody battle that followed.
After the marriage failed, Tammy gathered her courage and her daughters, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee--with no prospects of a job. Several recording companies turned her down, but finally she stepped into the office of Billy Sherill who signed her to Epic Records. Her blond ponytail made him think of Tammy from the movie series so he said she should be called Tammy, but the surname "Pugh" had to go. Tammy asked him if she could at least keep her middle name, so the Tammy Wynette stage name was born.
Her first single was "Apartment #9." After its release, her next 11 albums went to number one. Within four years, Tammy had won two Grammys and three CMA "Female Vocalist of the Year" awards.
Eventually she met song writer, Don Chapel. They were married in 1967, but the marriage was very unhappy and ended in 1968.
She was briefly married to real estate broker, Michael Tomlin, and finally to songwriter and producer, George Richey, in 1978. That marriage lasted until her death in 1998.
Tammy was called the "First Lady of Country Music."
She sold more than 30 million records. Tammy was the first female Country artist to sell a million albums.
She performed with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn in the successful album, "Honky Tonk Angels."
Her autobiography is entitled, STAND BY YOUR MAN
After her death, Tammy was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
So despite many hardships and heartaches, Virginia "Tammy Wynette" Pugh, with talent and determination, carved her mark in the entertainment industry, making music her life, just as she (and her father) had desired.
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On 25 May 2014 at 08:17 GMT Terry Wright wrote:
Tammy is 16 degrees from George Bush, 22 degrees from Rick San Soucie and 17 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.