Naomi Judd passes away at 76
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Naomi Judd passes away at 76

Saturday, April 30, 2022 – Naomi Judd, one-half of The Judds, passed away today outside of Nashville at 76.

Judd along with her daughter Wynonna, formed perhaps the most successful mother-daughter duo in country history, The Judds. She was also the mother of actress Ashley Judd.

No cause of death was given. Wynonna tweeted, "Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory."

Her husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, will not be making any further statements, according to her publicist. "Naomi Judd's family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time," the publicist said.

Naomi Judd passed away 19 days after the final performance of The Judds and one day before the duo's induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Among their hits were "Why Not Me," ""Mama He's Crazy," "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)" and "Let Me Tell You About Love."

Born in Ashland, Ky. as Diana Ellen Judd on Jan. 11, 1946, She played piano at her local church. At 18, she married Michael Ciminella and gave birth to her daughter Christina Ciminella, who would later be known as Wynonna Judd. The father was a former boyfriend.

Diana and Wynonna moving to Los Angeles in 1968 and lived on welfare after she and Michael divorced in 1972. The Judds eventually moved to Tennessee. Diana renamed herself Naomi and began playing music with her daughter, who sang lead and played guitar.

They got their big break in 1983 when Naomi convinced a record producer whose child she had cared for as a nurse listen to the act.

Naomi and Wynonna signed to RCA Nashville in 1983 and released six studio albums between then and 1991. The Judds won five Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and nine Country Music Association awards. They also had 25 singles on the country music charts between 1983 and 2000, with 14 hitting the top.

The Judds' first release for RCA/Curb was the " Wynonna & Naomi" EP. The six-song EP included the single "Had a Dream (For the Heart)" originally cut by Elvis Presley. The Judds' scored their first entry on the Hot Country Songs charts, reaching 17.

They hit paydirt with their second single, "Mama He's Crazy", written by Kenny O'Dell. In mid-1984, the song became the first of eight straight chart topping singles. They won their first Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal the following year.

The Judds' first full-length studio album, "Why Not Me," was released in 1984. The title track earned them a second Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. "Girls Night Out" and "Love Is Alive" hit number one. The album would sell a million copies in the U.S.

"Rockin' with the Rhythm" (1985) accounted had four more hit singles: "Have Mercy," "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ol' Days)," which won both a third Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, along with Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1987, "Rockin' with the Rhythm of the Rain" and "Cry Myself to Sleep."

The Judds stopped giving concerts in 1991 after Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Wynonna went solo, enjoying a successful career on her own. The Judds would regroup for some touring and special concerts.

In February 2010, Wynonna Judd announced that she would reunite with Naomi, to tour and record a studio album for the final time as the Judds by the end of 2010. The Last Encore Tour expanded to 29 dates in 2011.

A greatest hits package with several new songs came out the following year.

She also had a talk show and wrote several self-help books.

On April 11, The Judds' "The Final Tour" was announced with special guest Martina McBride, making 10 stops beginning on Sept. 30.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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