About The Song

Background

Released in 1952, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” became a landmark song in country music history. This single, performed by Kitty Wells and written by J.D. “Jay” Miller, shattered expectations and became the first song by a solo female artist to top the Billboard country charts. This accomplishment propelled Wells to national stardom and paved the way for future generations of female country singers.

Musical Style

The song is a classic example of honky-tonk, a subgenre of country music characterized by a driving tempo, prominent steel guitar, and a focus on themes of heartbreak, infidelity, and working-class life. “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” features a simple yet effective arrangement with a catchy melody and a strong backbeat provided by the rhythm section. Wells’ vocals are clear and powerful, conveying the emotional weight of the lyrics.

Lyrics

The song opens with a woman reflecting on a jukebox song about a “wild side of life,” triggering memories of her own past as a “trustin’ wife.” The heart of the song lies in the defiance of its title. The unnamed male singer of the jukebox song blames “honky tonk angels” – women frequenting honky-tonks – for the downfall of good men. Wells counters this notion, arguing “It wasn’t God who made honky tonk angels” but rather “married men thinkin’ they’re still single” who are the true culprits. The lyrics challenge the double standard that placed blame on women for the consequences of male infidelity.

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The song doesn’t shy away from female agency. The woman in the song acknowledges the allure of the honky-tonk, a place where women might seek solace or even reciprocate the cheating ways of their husbands. The line “It’s a shame that all the blame is on us women” directly confronts the societal expectation for women to remain faithful while excusing men’s transgressions. Wells delivers the final blow with the assertion that “most every heart that’s ever broken / Was because there always was a man to blame.”

Cultural Impact

“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” was a bombshell in the early 1950s country music scene. At the time, female singers primarily performed sentimental ballads or novelty songs. Wells’ song, with its strong female perspective and challenging message, resonated with a large audience, particularly women who identified with the lyrics. The song’s success shattered the perception that country music was solely a male domain and opened doors for future female artists like Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.

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The song’s cultural impact extended beyond country music. It became a feminist anthem, challenging societal norms and giving voice to female experiences that were often ignored. The song’s title became a catchphrase, and “honky tonk angel” transformed from a term of derision to a badge of honor for women who refused to be victims.

Conclusion

“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” is more than just a catchy country song. It’s a cultural touchstone that redefined the genre and empowered women. Kitty Wells’ powerful performance and the song’s defiant lyrics challenged the status quo and continues to inspire generations of listeners. The song remains a testament to the power of music to address social issues and create positive change.

Video

Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤
As I sit here tonight, the jukebox’s playingThe tune about the wild side of lifeAs I listen to the words you are sayingIt brings mem’ries when I was a trusting wife
It was’t God who made honky-tonk angelsAs you said in the words of your songToo many times married men think they’re still singleThat has caused many a good girl to go wrong
It’s a shame that all the blame is on us womenIt’s not true that only you men feel the sameFrom the start most every heart that’s ever brokenWas because there always was a man to blame
It was’t God who made honky-tonk angelsAs you said in the words of your songToo many times married men think they’re still singleThat has caused many a good girl to go wrong

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