It might have escaped the notice of most folks, but a recent news article has reported the death of country music pioneer Johnnie Wright, who passed away at age 97 in the Tennessee home that he still shared with his wife of 74 years, country superstar Kitty Wells. Although his famous spouse is probably more remembered now, Wright was a long-time star in his own right and even had a number-one song, “Hello Vietnam,” which later found new life on the soundtrack of Full Metal Jacket.
The Tennessee-born Wright first rose to fame in the late 1930s as part of the country duo Johnnie & Jack, which he formed with Jack Anglin. The twosome would continue to work together with great success for many years, but during those same early days Wright also met and married Muriel Deason, who would later become famous using the name Kitty Wells.
Wright continued to work with Anglin until the latter’s death in 1963, but through the years he also encouraged his wife to step out from her backup singer duties and take center stage. By the 1950s she was doing just that, and soon became a solo star in her own right. The couple continued to entertain until the 1980s, when they finally slowed down and retired for a while, although in later years they began to again occasionally appear on stage with their son Bobby.