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Tammy Wynette’s ‘Tragic’ Life Chronicled in New Book

Tammy Wynette, whose ‘Stand By Your Man’ is considered one of the greatest country songs of all time, is regarded as one of the genre’s most revered, influential artists. And a new book, ‘Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen,’ by author Jimmy McDonough, takes on the unenviable task of trying to sort out Tammy’s turbulent personal life — five husbands including, of course, George Jones — her many medical problems throughout her life (she died in 1998 at age 55), and, naturally, her impressive career as a country hitmaker.

Throughout the book, a portion of which is currently excerpted on the New York Times website, McDonough “speaks” to Tammy regarding her influence on him in his own life, with such observations as: “you and George Jones became my surrogate parents, although thankfully I never had the hots for my actual mother. Boy, those album covers, Tammy.”

McDonough also includes quotes from Tammy’s fellow artists, including Dolly Parton, who quipped that the First Lady of Country Music, as she was often called, was “just a country girl’s idea of glamour. Tammy didn’t have any more fashion sense than I did, really. I always say me and Tammy, we got our clothes from Fifth and Park — that was, the fifth trailer in the park.”

But when it came to Tammy’s vocal abilities, Dolly turns more serious, saying, “I could not believe that all of that voice and all that sound was coming out of a person standing totally still. I’d think, ‘How is she doing’ that?’ It seems like you’d have to lean into your body or bow down into it or something to get all of that out. I’ve never seen anything like it to this day. I was in awe of her. I thought she had one of the greatest voices of all time.”

More information on the author and ‘Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen,’ is available at Jimmy McDonough’s official website.

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