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What Made Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand by Your Man’ So Contentious?

What Made Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand by Your Man’ So Contentious?
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One of the most iconic country songs in history is Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man.” The track stirred considerable controversy, with Wynette finding herself repeatedly defending its lyrics during her lifetime.

Tammy Wynette, with a disheveled appearance and a sense of fear, sought out a music producer for the creation of “Stand by Your Man.” Billy Sherrill, the co-writer and producer of the song, recounted the first time Wynette entered his office in a 2000 NPR interview. Despite her beaten-down demeanor, Sherrill recognized the potential in her voice – husky, soulful, tearful, dynamic, and emotionally charged. He noted that while many other producers had turned her down, he and Wynette were able to transform her image.

The creation of “Stand by Your Man” sparked controversy, especially among feminists who believed the song conveyed negative messages to women. Wynette, along with Sherrill, wrote the song, and Evelyn Shriver, Wynette’s publicist, revealed that the singer grew weary of constantly defending a song she wrote in just 20 minutes, spending decades justifying its content.

>>READ ALSO: The Mysterious Story of Loretta Lynn’s Haunted Hurricane Mills Mansion

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The feminist backlash claimed that “Stand by Your Man” encouraged beleaguered housewives to accept their circumstances. Country singer Jeannie C. Riley, known for the feminist anthem “Harper Valley PTA,” felt the song implied women should endure whatever challenges their husbands presented. Epic Records, Wynette’s record label, promoted the track as a counter to the burgeoning women’s liberation movement.

Despite the controversy, the song received widespread acclaim, earning Tammy Wynette the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance — Female. The victory came over notable contenders such as Jeannie C. Riley, Diana Trask, Connie Smith, and Lynn Anderson.

Wynette, nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Song, faced defeat to Shel Silverstein for his work on Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue.” Undeterred, Wynette went on to achieve further success with hits like “Singing My Song” and “The Ways to Love a Man.”

“Stand by Your Man” secured a place in country music history, and its legacy continues to spark debates and discussions to this day.

Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man (Official Audio)

>>READ ALSO: The Story Behind George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s “Near You”

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