When Ms. Wynette walked into Mr. Sherrill’s Epic office and sang for him in 1966, she was jobless and full of pluck. She had just moved to Nashville with her three children, having left a no-good ex-husband behind in Alabama, by her account. Mr. Sherrill caught what he later described as “a little teardrop” in her voice, and soon he began writing and producing songs for her.
He and Ms. Wynette wrote “Stand by Your Man” in either 15 or 30 minutes, depending on whose version of the story is believed. The song, which was a pop as well as a country hit, preached fidelity and, some felt, subservience at the dawn of the women’s movement.