Dolly Parton Performs “Shine On” At Tammy Wynette’s 1998 Memorial

REX/Nils Jorgenson, Columbia Records

As one of the most successful female artists in country music history, Tammy Wynette has continued to be majorly influential in the world of country music to this day.

On April 9, 1998, the country music world said their goodbyes to the legendary Tammy. The service was full of prayers, tears, kind words, memories and of course, song.

We always had the worst hair,” country superstar Dolly Parton recalled during her memorial speech. “‘But Tammy,’ I’d say, ‘I think that’s why God gave us talent, ’cause he screwed up our hair so bad’.”

Friends, family, loved ones, all gathered at Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville that Thursday, a place where Tammy had performed many times throughout her years in the industry. The ceremony was broadcasted around the world for fans and friends alike to share in their grieving. Especially touching that day were the kind words and beautiful songs that country Dolly Parton shared.

She’ll always be dear to me. She’ll always be special. She’ll always live in our memories,” Dolly recounted, following a performance of her original song “Shine On,” which she dedicated to Tammy. “God certainly gave Tammy a great gift. She shined then, she’s shining now and she’ll shine forever more…

About 2,000 people lined up before the memorial service to pay their respects to the “First Lady of Country Music.” Not in attendance unfortunately, was country legend Loretta Lynn, who’d been scheduled to speak but was too distraught. She asked Dolly to apologize to those in attendance on her behalf.


“…I know she’d have wanted two things,” continued Dolly. “For [me] to dress up, and for [me] to be up.”

Tammy had been in poor health for many months before her death. She passed away at home in Nashville on April 6, 1998 from a blood clot. She was 55 years old.

After the service, Tammy was buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville.

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