|Single by Tammy Wynette|
|Released||May 1968 (U.S.)|
|Recorded||March 22, 1968|
|Writer(s)||Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman|
|Tammy Wynette singles chronology|
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. 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."
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."
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."
"D-I-V-O-R-C-E" was released in May 1968, and was 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.
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.
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||63|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||1|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||74|
|Dutch Top 40||9|
|UK Singles Chart||12|
- Dolly Parton
- Dottie West
- Duane Allman and the Hour Glass (1968)
- Alex Chilton (on Electricity By Candlelight / NYC 2/13/97 - Bar/None, 2013)
Use in film
- 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).
- B.A.C.O.N and E.G.G.S was performed primarily by Homer and Jethro.
- R.E.F.E.R.E.E. written and sung by Max Boyce, as a response to a controversial refereeing decision in the 1974 Five Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham.
- A comic version sung by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly (lyrics written by Wilma H Polmont), with a dog in place of the little boy in the lyrics and spelled out words such as vet and quarantine, was a No. 1 hit the UK in November 1975.
- The musical number "U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D." from the musical Starlight Express also parodies "D-I-V-O-R-C-E."
- The Circle Jerks (a punk rock group from Southern California) released a medley of pop songs in 1983 entitled Golden Shower of Hits that includes the first verse and chorus of "D-I-V-O-R-C-E."
- At the 2009 CMA Awards, co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood sang a parody of the song to indicate the recent announcement that country music duo Brooks & Dunn is splitting.
- 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.
- 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).
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 399.
- Billboard singles charts info AllMusic.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Wynette UK Singles Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Connolly UK Singles Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
"I Wanna Live"
by Glen Campbell
|Billboard Hot Country Singles
June 29-July 13, 1968
"Folsom Prison Blues"
by Johnny Cash
|RPM Country Tracks
June 29-July 13, 1968