In 1968, 53 years ago, Tammy Wynette released her career-defining album and song of the same name, Stand By Your Man.
The album reached No. 2 on the “Billboard Country Albums” chart. The album also produced the famous single, “Stand by Your Man,” released on September 20, 1968.
That single would become Wynette’s most well-known song, peaking at No. 1 on the “Billboard Country Singles” chart, making it Wynette’s fifth song to top the chart.
Copenned by Tammy Wynette Billy Sherrill, “Stand By Your Man” is undoubtedly a Wynette classic that took no more than 15 minutes to write. The song’s simple yet meaningful lyrics were an anthem for all women who’ve had marital troubles.
“You’ll have bad times, and he’ll have good times
Doin’ things that you don’t understand
But if you love him, you’ll forgive him”
The Controversy Behind Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man’
However, the song was not without its cultural implications. According to Wynette, she spent more time standing up for the record than she did with any man. Wynette insisted that she had no political themes and that it was “just a pretty love song.”
The song’s release coincided with the women’s liberation movement, and many women thought the song’s sentiment was contrary to their cause. As a result, Tammy Wynette became the movement’s example of an obedient wife willing to shelve her own needs for her husband.
When asked about the issue, Wynette offered a tone of compassion for the movement.
“I can sympathize very easily because I have seen it happen in Mississippi where I was raised, and Alabama, growing up as a child, where a woman couldn’t make a third of what a man could make doing an identical job. I can sympathize with that, and I feel it’s very wrong.”
Despite the controversy, “Stand By Your Man” became the most successful song of Wynette’s career, hitting No. 1 on the Country charts. It was the best-selling single of all time by a female country artist in America.
Surprisingly, she had very little faith in her songwriting, and when she played the song to her former lover, George Jones, she didn’t get much support.
“I went home and played it for George and he didn’t like it,” she said in 1978. “He didn’t know I’d written it, so I asked him what he didn’t like and he said ‘I dunno, I just don’t care for the song.’ That kinda got me started off wrong with ‘Stand By Your Man’, but it’s grown on me now.”