We all know the anthem, 'Stand By Your Man', that Tammy took to the top of the charts but few know the staggering story of the woman behind the song. Virginia Wynette Pugh was born into a poor family in Mississippi but was blessed with an astonishing singing voice. She always believed in her talent so, when her first marriage was breaking down, she bundled her three children into her car and roared off to make her name in the capital of Country music, Nashville. An overnight success, Wynette took the persona of the tortured housewife and turned it into hit records. Yet Tammy never found the idealized love she desperately yearned for, and her soap opera life included five husbands (one marriage lasting only forty-four days); four kids; thirty-plus operations; a monstrous addiction to painkillers; and even a bizarre unsolved kidnapping attempt that some insiders suggest Tammy might have staged herself. Her tragic death at age 55 shocked her fans but not those who knew of her health and addiction problems. Then the final indignity: her family had Wynette's body exhumed a year after her passing to ascertain the cause of her demise, yet the death has never been fully explained.
Jimmy McDonough has been a true fan of Tammy all his life and has spent years researching the singer's story. TRAGIC COUNTRY QUEEN is the definitive biography of this complex and often contradictory artist. The author interviewed musicians, producers, fellow Country music superstars, ex-husbands, and family members (many who speak publicly for the first time). He reveals Tammy's mysterious and often desperate pre-Nashville days and her chaotic private life which included vast wealth, affairs, fires, overdoses, controlling husbands, pills, gunshots and fine music. 'The more I unearthed, the more haunting her music became,' writes McDonough. Funny, heartbreaking and remarkably researched, Tragic Country Queen is the book on the queen of country music.
Jimmy McDonough is the author of Shakey: Neil Young's Biography, as well as biographies of Russ Meyer and Andy Milligan.