|Birth: ||May 13, 1914|
|Death: ||Sep. 27, 2011|
Country Music Pioneer
(May 13, 1914 ~ Sep. 27, 2011)
Johnnie Wright is not a household name in the country music arena even though he was in the music business 67 years. However, there was a time when his name was widely recognized as a singer who made significant contributions as a solo artist, as a member of the innovative duo Johnnie & Jack and most famously, as the lifelong partner to the Queen of Country Music, Kitty Wells.
From the time Johnnie married 18-year-old Muriel Deason in 1937, he was an integral part of her career. Wright gave Deason the stage name "Kitty Wells" and he brought her the landmark hit, It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels. When Johnnie and Kitty teamed up, they became one of the most sought after performing duo teams in country music.
Johnnie Wright was born in Mount Juliet, Tennessee (TN) and raised in Nashville, TN. A banjo and fiddle player, he'd been kicking around the barn dance circuit since the early-1930s. In 1938, Johnnie teamed up with Jack Anglin in a duo called Johnnie & Jack and the Tennessee Mountain Boys. They became brothers-in-law When Jack married Johnnie's sister, Louise. Kitty Wells joined the group in 1948.
Anglin was drafted during World War II, which temporally halted the singing team. By 1948, Johnnie & Jack were back in action, headlining the Louisiana Hayride (1948 – 1952). Though she sang on the Hayride, Kitty didn't sing on their records until they came under contract with RCA Records.
In 1949, Johnnie & Jack begin recording in Nashville with RCA Records. Two years later, they charted the singles, Poison Love (No. 4, 1951), Cryin' Heart Blues (No. 5, 1951) and followed with Three Ways of Knowing (No. 7, 1952). One of their most popular recordings during this period, Ashes of Love, did not make it onto the Billboard chart.
During this time, they moved from performing on the Louisiana Hayride to the Grand Ole Opry, where they remained for 15 years. The duo scored their only No. 1 hit in 1954 with a single titled, (Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely. During the next four years, Johnny & Jack charted four more top-10 singles. The duo ended when Jack Anglin was killed (Mar. 8, 1963) in an automobile crash en route to Patsy Cline's memorial service.
Johnnie became a solo recording artist with Decca Records (1964 – 1968) and over the next four years, he charted a dozen hits, including his only No. 1 single, Hello Vietnam(1965). In 1968, Wright had a minor chart single with Kitty Wells, titled We'll Stick Together. They following year, Johnnie and Kitty formed the popular Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Family Show. Around that time, they recorded a couple of gospel albums and their act became a mixture of country and gospel music.
On December 31, 2000, the duo performed their farewell concert at the Nashville Nightlife Theater in Nashville, Tennessee., TN They played to a full house of fans, family and friends. Johnnie Wright and Kitty Wells stuck together not only professionally, but as man and wife for nearly eight decades. The couple's 74th anniversary would have been Oct. 30, 2011.
WRIGHT, JohnnieTrue pioneer of country music, Johnnie Wright, age 97, passed away Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at his home in Madison, TN. Funeral services will be held Friday, September 30, 2011 at 2 p.m., at the Madison Church of Christ. Burial will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery, with his nephews serving as Pallbearers. Serving as Honorary Pallbearers will be his former band members, The Tennessee Mountain Boys. The family will receive friends at the church on Thursday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 8 p.m., and again on Friday from 12 Noon - 1:30 p.m. Johnnie was born on May 13, 1914 in Mt. Juliet, TN to the late John Robert and Maggie Hughley Wright. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Ruby Wright Taylor. He was a member of Madison Church of Christ where he served for many years as a deacon. He was founding member of the Madison's Children's Home. Johnnie began his career in 1937 with his wife, Kitty Wells, Queen of Country Music. He later formed the legendary duo, Johnnie & Jack, with his brother-in-law, Jack Anglin, acclaimed as The Most Popular Country Duo of the 1950s. After Jack's death in 1963, Johnnie charted a #1 single as a solo artist. His song "Hello Vietnam" was popularized in the movie "Full Metal Jacket". Johnnie continued his career touring with The Family Show until 2007. All visitation and services will be held at Madison Church of Christ, 106 Gallatin Rd. North, Madison, TN 37115. AUSTIN & BELL-Springfield, (615) 384-1000.
Published in The Tennessean from September 28 to September 29, 2011
John Robert Wright (1871 - 1945)
Maggie Azilee Hewgley Wright (1878 - 1944)
Kitty Wells (1919 - 2012)*
Ruby Wright Taylor (1939 - 2009)*
Delbert L. Wright (1898 - 1973)*
Eugenia Wright Kelley (1900 - 1977)*
Thomas Marshall Wright (1903 - 1975)*
Lillie Mae Wright (1905 - 1947)*
Johnnie Wright (1914 - 2011)
Louise Wright Anglin (1916 - 1983)*
Infant Son Wright (1919 - 1919)*
Spring Hill Cemetery
Plot: Hill Crest Garden
GPS (lat/lon): 36.24177, -86.7224
Created by: Richard Joseph Bell
Record added: Sep 27, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 77205428