“In those years, there weren’t more than a half-dozen women headlining their own shows in country music. Every time one of us stood up for our rights she made a point for us all. We had our own ‘liberation movement’ going, but I don’t think any of us were aware of it. I know I wasn’t. All I wanted was the right to work in my chosen field and be treated with as much respect as the men who did the same job.”
That’s trailblazing country singer and mother of four, Tammy Wynette, from the marvelous Mary Bufwack/Robert Oermann tome, Finding Her Voice: The Illustrated History of Women in Country Music. Of the kerfuffle stirred up by “Stand By Your Man,” she adds:
“I didn’t sing the song to say, ‘You women stay home and stay pregnant and don’t do anything to help yourselves. Be there waiting when he comes home because a woman needs a man at any cost.’ All I wanted to say in the song was, ‘Be understanding. Be supportive.'”
Tammy’s big break came in 1966, when she met producer/songwriter, Billy Sherrill, in Nashville. According to Music City lore, Tammy walked into Sherrill’s office and said pointedly, “My name is Wynette Byrd (her husband at the time was the winsomely named, Euple Byrd) and I’ve recently moved here from Birmingham (Alabama). I want a recording contract.” Balls … and with Adios Lounge-appropriate Byrd and Birmingham references. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.