by Jim Poulton
Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Photo courtesy of IDanceRecords.com
Stand By Your Man is an understated and uncluttered song, surprisingly short, offering straightforward advice about how to survive a relationship with a man. The song is sung as though from a meditation – especially at first, when the unembellished clarity of Wynette’s voice offers us a thoughtful woman musing on how she has made a sometimes difficult relationship work. As the song crescendos, though, Wynette’s voice shifts to a gear with a good deal more emotional torque, and we then hear the power she was capable of as she sings of loyalty and passion. The effect is of sudden acceleration - going from a contemplative standstill to a surge of high RPM emotion. In other words, the song goes from A to Zowie in a short 2 minutes. In our view, this is one of the main reasons the song was such a hit.
Wynette recorded Stand By Your Man in 1968. It reached the top of the charts in the US Country singles, the Canadian Country tracks, and the British, Irish and Dutch charts. Although the song has been controversial (it was derided by the feminist movement, for fairly obvious reasons), in recent years it has come to be accepted as a legitimate part of the country music oeuvre. In 2003, it was rated the number one song of the 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music by Country Music Television.