Stand By Your Man

Album: Stand By Your Man (1968)
Charted: 1 19
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Tammy Wynette wrote this with Billy Sherrill, a producer, songwriter and record executive who signed Wynette to Epic Records after other labels rejected her. He was known for his elegant and meticulous production style (often adding strings to the mix), which was unusual in the world of country music.
  • The song is about sticking by your man no matter his indiscretions:

    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


    Wynette said that she wrote the song in 15 minutes and spent a lifetime defending it. She insisted that she had no political motive, and that it was "just a pretty love song."

    The women's liberation movement ("women's lib"), however, thought the sentiment in the song was contrary to their cause, and Wynette became their example of a compliant wife willing to defer to her husband. When pressed on the issue, she told Melody Maker: "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. A woman should be equal to a man for anything she's capable of doing, but I still feel there's a lot of things she isn't capable of doing. Physically. Personally, I'm not particularly fond of the thought of digging ditches or climbing telephone poles. I'd rather stick with something a little more feminine. I wouldn't want to lose the little courtesies that we've always been extended, like lighting cigarettes and opening doors, and pulling out chairs and things like that. I enjoy that. I guess I just enjoy being a woman."
  • This became the most successful song of Tammy Wynette's career and has been recorded by many other singers. It hit #1 on the Country charts and found a new audience when it was featured on the soundtrack of the 1970 Jack Nicholson film, Five Easy Pieces. At the time, it was the best selling single of all time by a female country artist in America.
  • This was the first song Wynette wrote with her producer Billy Sherrill. At the time, she had very little faith in her songwriting, and when she played the song to George Jones, whom she would marry the next year, she didn't get any encouragement.

    "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."
  • Hillary Clinton injected this song into the political landscape in 1992 when she and her husband, Bill Clinton, appeared on the show 60 Minutes to address allegations made by Gennifer Flowers that Bill had an affair with her when he was governor and she was a state employee. After reporter Steve Kroft commented, "I think most Americans would agree that it's very admirable that you've stayed together," Hillary responded:

    "You know, I'm not sitting here – some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette. I'm sitting here because I love him, and I respect him, and I honor what he's been through and what we've been through together. And you know, if that's not enough for people, then heck, don't vote for him."

    This episode of 60 Minutes ran following the Super Bowl and had a huge audience. Bill was running for president and won, earning a second term as well. During his tenure as leader of the free world he got caught having sexual relations with an intern at the White House. Throughout the ordeal, Hillary supported him, standing by her man like Tammy Wynette.

    When she launched her own political career, Hillary was seen by detractors as being disingenuous, sticking with Bill only because it was politically expedient. She was elected to the Senate and served two terms, but lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary. When she ran again in 2016, she won the primary but lost the general election to Donald Trump, who made Bill Clinton's infidelity a campaign issue and questioned why Hillary stood by him.
  • There was a limit to how long Wynette would stand by her man. She was married five times to five different men, and all of those marriages ended in divorce. Her third marriage was a tumultuous one to George Jones, that lasted six years. They divorced in 1975, but worked together again in the '90s, touring and releasing a 1995 duets album called One. Wynette died in 1998 at age 55.
  • Tammy Wynette was watching when Hillary Clinton invoked her and this song on 60 Minutes. Wynette was livid. She issued a statement saying: "With all that is in me I resent your caustic remark. I, with no apologies, am as angry as I can be with your statement. Mrs. Clinton, you have offended every woman and man who love that song - several million in number. I believe you have offended every true country music fan and every person who has 'made it on their own' with no one to take them to a White House."

    Clinton responded: "I didn't mean to hurt Tammy Wynette as a person. I happen to be a country-western fan. If she feels like I've hurt her feelings, I'm sorry about that."
  • This was the follow-up single to "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," in which Wynette offers a very different take on how to handle a challenging marriage.
  • In 1975, this song rose from the ashes to reach #1 on the UK charts and propel Wynette to sudden fame in that country seven years after the song was first released. American country music was largely ignored in the UK, as most Brits couldn't relate to the subject matter. Charlie Rich, however, made a breakthrough in 1974 when his single "The Most Beautiful Girl" went to #2, proving that a country song could be a pop hit in the UK if it had a relatable theme.

    Most country singles were released in advance of the International Country Music Festival for artists who were performing on the tour. It took five releases of "Stand By Your Man" to make it a hit. After the original UK release in 1969, Wynette's label, CBS, issued it again in 1971, 1973, and 1974. They tried for the fifth time on February 21, 1975, and strangely, the song made its way to #1 on May 11 and stayed there for three weeks.

    Even more bizarre, Wynette pulled out of the festival because her marriage to George Jones was in turmoil, so the song got no tour support. However, her first British tour, which was booked before the song was a hit, brought her to the UK when the song was #1. The tour was extended, and a compilation album issued to satisfy demand for Wynette's catalogue. A few months later, her 1969 hit "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" was also issued, going to #12 in the UK.
  • In 1991, Wynette appeared on the KLF song Justified And Ancient, where she was revered as "The first lady of Country." The KLF song was subtitled "Stand by the JAMs" in reference to this title.
  • Wynette's 1978 autobiography is titled Stand By Your Man. The first line: "The first time I met George Jones, he was in bed with another woman."
  • This is featured on the popular soundtrack to Sleepless in Seattle (1993). In the movie, the song plays when Meg Ryan determines to stand by her current man rather than pursue a relationship with Tom Hanks.
  • This earned Wynette a Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1970. The song was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
  • This originally opened with a pedal steel guitar from Pete Drake, who played on Lynn Anderson's "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden" and Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," but Sherrill and Wynette thought the sound was too overwhelming and enlisted session musician Jerry Kennedy to overdub the intro with a simple guitar riff.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 7

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm
    Country producer Billy Sherrill, who gave us such crossover hits as Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" (#19-1969, which he co-wrote with Tammy) and "Behind Closed Doors" (#15-1973) and "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" (#1-1973) from Charlie Rich, died Tuesday (August 4) following a short illness at his Nashville home...
    He was 78...
    Billy was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2008...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 23rd 1970, Candi Staton's covered version of "Stand By your Man" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #99; and on November 8th, 1970 it peaked at #24 {for 1 week} and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1969 and 1986 she had fourteen records make the R&B Singles chart; eight made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Young Hearts Run Free" for one week in 1976...
    Ms. Staton, born Canzetta Maria Staton, with celebrate her 75th birthday this coming March 13th {2015}.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnI remember the scene in The Blues Brothers when Jake and Elwood were performing in a rowdy country-western bar and they were constantly hit by bottles and other objects. So in order to quiet down the crowd, they decided to sing Stand By Your Man and it worked.

    On another note, Ronne Milsap later recorded a song titled I'm a Stand By My Woman Man.
  • Hank 3 from Somewhere In The Deep Woods, TnLyle Lovett and his large band also recorded it
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnA CMT countdown poll had this song as the number 1 country song of all time.Number 2 was "He Stopped Loving her Today" By George Jones.Im not sure I agree with that order.

    David Allan Coe has recorded "Stand By Your Man" from the standpoint of a single dad giving his daughter advice on things "that might make us both a bit uncomfortable" - a bit creepy,like Coe himself.

    Carrie Underwood has also butchered this song.
  • Sally from South Orange, NjThe best version of this song is the one by the Blues Brothers. No question.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnIn the 1995 James Bond movie GoldenEye, this is being sung (to use the word loosely) by a cabaret singer at a St. Petersburg club as Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) arrives to meet the club's owner, a Russian mobster. After a few seconds of listening to her sing, Bond asks the mobster "Who's strangling the cat?" although it's not clear whether this was meant as a genuine put-down of the singer or whether he just wanted her off the stage so he and the mobster could continue their meeting undisturbed.
see more comments

Victoria WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

Despite appearances on Carson, Leno and a Pennebaker film, Williams remains a hidden treasure.

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")Songwriter Interviews

Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in SongsSong Writing

Elvis, Little Richard and Cheryl Cole have all sung about Teddy Bears, but there is also a terrifying Teddy song from 1932 and a touching trucker Teddy tune from 1976.

Desmond ChildSongwriter Interviews

One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."

Andy McClusky of OMDSongwriter Interviews

Known in America for the hit "If You Leave," OMD is a huge influence on modern electronic music.