The 20th century had three great female singers who plumbed the darkest corners of their hearts and transformed private grief into public dramas. In opera, there was the unsurpassed Maria Callas. In jazz, the tormented Billie Holiday. And in country music, there was Tammy Wynette.
“Stand by Your Man,” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Take Me to Your World” are but a few highlights of Tammy Wynette’s staggering musical legacy, all sung with a voice that became the touchstone for women’s vulnerability, disillusionment, strength, and endurance.
In Tammy Wynette, best-selling biographer Jimmy McDonough tells the story of the small-town girl who grew up to be the woman behind the microphone, whose meteoric rise led to a decades-long career full of tragedy and triumph. Through a high-profile marriage and divorce, her dreadful battle with addiction and illness, and the struggle to compete in a rapidly evolving Nashville, Tammy Wynette turned a brave smile toward the world and churned out masterful hit songs though her life resembled the most heartbreaking among them.
Tammy Wynette is an intimate portrait of a music icon, the Queen of Heartbreak, whose powerful voice simultaneously evoked universal pain and longing even as it belied her own.
©2010 Jimmy McDonough (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
The twentieth century had three great female singers who plumbed the darkest corners of their hearts and transformed private grief into public dramas. In opera, there was the unsurpassed Maria Callas. In jazz, the tormented Billie Holiday. And in country music, there was Tammy Wynette.
“McDonough brings a passionate flair to his language….Combining pop musicology and tabloid gossip, McDonough has crafted a fitting tribute to a country music icon.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This engaging and potentially controversial study of one of the most significant singers in the history of country music is essential for fans of Wynette and the genre.” (Library Journal)
The author never met Tammy, but was, and is still a big fan. Still, he manages to portray Tammy warts and all. He's never mean spirited and tries to be fair to her and to those in her life, even her last husband George Ritchie, who is not a very sympathetic figure. He's done a ton of research, and loads of interviews, but the book is never dry. Tammy left us way too soon, and under some still questionable circumstances, but what a life! After listening to the book I had to go over to itunes to listen to some snippets of her songs again. The author is right, what a great voice. Tammy, Loretta, Dolly, George Jones. They were truly country before country was cool. Tammy lamented how country music was changing,and not for the better, towards the end of her life in the late 1990's. After listening to this wonderful book, you'll agree 100%.
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