The Love Song of Virginia Pugh
Long mislabeled as Tammy Wynette's rebuttal to the feminist movement of the late '60s, "Stand By Your Man" was actually just a country love song, co-written by producer-songwriter Billy Sherrill and Ms. Wynette.
Recorded 45 years ago, the song was a No. 1 country hit for three weeks in 1968—crossing over to the pop charts, winning a Grammy and becoming a Grammy Hall of Fame inductee in 1999. When the entire song was played during the opening credits of the hit movie "Five Easy Pieces" (1970), a generation of young people unfamiliar with country music was introduced to it. The song resurfaced in January 1992, when Hillary Clinton told "60 Minutes" that she wasn't "some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette." The reaction was "instant" and "brutal," a chastened Mrs. Clinton later wrote. In 1998, Ms. Wynette died of heart failure at age 55.
Last week, Billy Sherrill, 76, pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins, 75, and guitarist Jerry Kennedy, 70, talked about the song's origins. Read more from Sherrill, Hargus, and Kennedy at WSJ.com.