The influence of Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Kitty Wells continues to reverberate around her home town of Nashville to this day. If you ask Dolly Parton just how important an influence Kitty was on her, for example, you’ll get a long and enthusiastic answer. Not for nothing did Wells become known as the Queen of Country Music.
After she made her breakthrough in 1952 with the song that probably remains her single best-known hit, ‘It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,’ Kitty returned to the top of the country chart in 1954 with ‘One By One,’ a duet with Red Foley. She was building a repertoire of top ten hits that would continue until 1965, and a chart presence that extended until past her 60th birthday, in 1979.
On 17 December 1955, Wells was in the studio recording the song that, the following summer, would become her 15th top ten single in just four years. ‘Searching (For Someone Like You),’ written by Pee Wee Maddux, reached No. 3 on the country survey and went on to be one of Kitty’s longest-running hits, in a career that was full of them.
The writer, born Murphy Monroe Maddux Jr., was also an artist in his own right with his Lazy River Boys, and played guitar, steel guitar and fiddle. His songbook also included several numbers that were cut by Fats Domino, including ‘Hold Hands,’ ‘Nothing New (Same Old Thing)’ and ‘What A Price.’
Wells scored no fewer than nine singles that each spent 20 weeks or more on the country countdown, with that ‘One By One’ release logging a remarkable 41 weeks. ‘Searching (For Someone Like You)’ managed an impressive 34, which kept the song in the listings from July 1956 well into the following year.
‘Searching (For Someone Like You)’ is on Kitty Wells’ 20th Century Masters compilation, which can be bought here.
Kitty Wells features in uDiscover’s Country Music In 20 Songs playlist.