Tammy Wynette Tapped For Pioneer Award

Academy of Country Music to honor legendary songstress May 3 for achievements spanning three decades.

NASHVILLE — First lady of country music Tammy Wynette will be the first posthumous recipient of the Academy of Country Music Pioneer Award, established in 1968 to honor unprecedented achievement in country music.

"There are so many things to say about Tammy," Fran Boyd, executive director of the Academy of Country Music said. "She was classy, professional, caring, warm and one hell of a performer. I still appreciate some of her music more than anything in this world, and I am glad we can honor her."

Wynette's legendary career spanned three decades, generating 20 #1 singles, three #1 albums, two Grammys and three Country Music Association awards for female vocalist of the year. Her trademark hits include "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," "Stand by Your Man" and "I Don't Wanna Play House," as well as "Golden Ring" and "We're Gonna Hold On" with onetime husband George Jones.

With this award, Wynette joins Jones and such previous winners as Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins.

The tribute to Wynette will air May 3 during the awards during the ACM Awards and will include performances by Dolly Parton, the Judds, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and Patty Loveless.

The awards will begin with a bang as Alan Jackson and George Strait open the show with their controversial duet "Murder on Music Row" (RealAudio excerpt). The album cut from Strait's Latest Greatest Straitest Hits points its proverbial finger at country labels and radio for the demise of traditional country. Currently #38 on the Billboard country singles chart, the song is now the highest-charting nonseasonal album cut in country, surpassing Garth Brooks' 1998 song "Belleau Wood."

Jackson also pairs with Hank Williams Jr. to perform Jackson's single "The Blues Man."

Recently reunited mother/daughter duo the Judds are the most recent addition to the performance lineup. They are scheduled to sing their current chart climber "Stuck in Love."

The ACM Awards show will be televised live by CBS-TV from Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheater at 8 p.m. EST on May 3.