D-I-V-O-R-C-E

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For the album of the same name, see D-I-V-O-R-C-E (album).
"D-I-V-O-R-C-E"
Single by Tammy Wynette
Released May 1968 (U.S.)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded March 22, 1968
Genre Country
Length 2:57
Label Epic 10315
Writer(s) Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman
Tammy Wynette singles chronology
"Take Me To Your World"
(1968)
"D-I-V-O-R-C-E"
(1968)
"Stand By Your Man"
(1968)

"D-I-V-O-R-C-E" is an American country music song written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman, and made famous by Tammy Wynette. Wynette's version was a number one country hit in 1968.

Background[edit]

Just a year after Wynette scored her first hit with "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," she had already gained a reputation for catering to the female perspective in country music that, according to country music writer Kurt Wolff, audiences badly craved.[1] Her repertoire already included songs that urged understanding and forgiveness, but critics noted she had also become adept at singing songs of heartbreak. In Wolff's words, "(W)hen the end of the road was reached, she also spoke plainly of the hard issues facing modern day couples."[1]

Recorded in 1968, "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" is a woman's perspective on the impending collapse of her marriage. The lyrics begin with an old parenting trick of spelling out words mothers and fathers hope their young children will not understand, they (the children) being not yet able to spell or comprehend the word's meaning. In this case, the soon-to-be-divorcee spells out words such as divorce, Joe (the name of the woman's four-year-old son), hell and custody to shield the young, carefree boy from the cruel, harsh realities of the world and the ultimate breakup of his mother and father.

Country music historian Bill Malone wrote that Wynette's own tumultuous life (five marriages) "encompassed the jagged reality so many women have faced." Therefore, he asserts that Wynette identified so well with "D-I-V-O-R-C-E"; her rendition, Malone wrote, is "painfully sincere—there is no irony here—and if there is a soap opera quality to the dialogue, the content well mirrors both her own life and contemporary experience."[2]

Wolff, meanwhile, hailed the song as "tearjerking as any country song before or since. It approaches parody, but stops just short thanks to the sincerity of Tammy's quivering voice."[1]

Chart performance[edit]

"D-I-V-O-R-C-E" was released in May 1968, and became one of Wynette's fastest-climbing songs to that time. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart that June, and was also a minor pop hit, stopping at No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]

In 1975, a Tammy Wynette greatest hits album was released in the UK. Two of the songs from this album ascended the British pop chart that year, with "Stand by Your Man" reaching the top of the chart in April and "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" climbing to a peak position of #12 in July.[4]

Chart (1968) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 63
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 74
Chart (1975) Peak
position
Dutch Top 40 9
UK Singles Chart 12

Covers[edit]

Use in film[edit]

  • The original Tammy Wynette recording features in the films Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Wynette's 1973 re-recording of the song (which originally appeared on her Kids Say the Dardndest Things (1973) album appeared in Brokeback Mountain (2005).

Parodies[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Country Songs: 1944-2005," 2006

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wolff, Kurt, "Country Music: The Rough Guide," Rough Guides Ltd., London; Penguin Putnam, New York, distributor. p. 424 (ISBN 1-85828-534-8), p. 334-335.
  2. ^ Malone, Bill, "The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music" ((booklet included with The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music 8-volume set). Smithsonian Institution, 1981).
  3. ^ Billboard singles charts info AllMusic.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  4. ^ Wynette UK Singles Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  5. ^ Connolly UK Singles Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"I Wanna Live"
by Glen Campbell
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

June 29-July 13, 1968
Succeeded by
"Folsom Prison Blues"
by Johnny Cash
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

June 29-July 13, 1968