July 18, 2012

Kitty Wells was part Cherokee

Late Kitty Wells Was Part of Native American-Country Music TraditionKitty Wells, the first woman ever to have a #1 single on the country music chart, died Monday at the age of 92 in her home in Madison, Tennessee. Her trademark song, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” topped the chart, which had been in existence for eight years, in 1952. It kicked off a career that lasted more than three decades, although her last chart success was the minor 1979 hit “Thanks for the Roses.”

Wells was one of many legendary country music artists with a claim to Native American ancestry. Indeed, Hank Williams Sr., considered the father of country music, had Choctaw roots, according to the “Did You Know?” page on the official site of the Native American Music Awards. Wells had Cherokee blood, according to the site, as do megastars Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, and Billy Ray Cyrus, and Carrie Underwood is identified as of Muscogee Creek descent.
Comment:  For more on Cherokees and music, see Natives Among 100 Greatest Guitarists and Cherokee Nominated for Grammy.

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