Naomi Judd, country music matriarch of The Judds, says goodbye

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The Grammy-winning country music duet The Judds has lost one of its members, Naomi Judd, at the age of 76.

Wynonna, the country singer, and Ashley Judd, the actress, both released statements on Saturday confirming their father’s death. “We, the sisters, have been through a catastrophe today. Our mother succumbed to the debilitating effects of mental illness “It was said in a press release. “We’re in pieces. Despite our deep sorrow, it is comforting to know that as much as we cared for her, she was adored by her fans. In unfamiliar land, we are at a loss as to what to expect.”

Naomi Judd and her daughter Wynonna were one of the most popular mother-daughter combos in country music until the pair disbanded in the early 1990s. They recorded and performed as The Judds. “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days”), and “Love Can Build a Bridge” were some of the Judds’ most popular songs.


The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year and will be officially honoured on Sunday in Nashville. Earlier this month, the band also announced a last tour, which will begin in September. In a statement announcing the tour, Judd noted, “The fans have always been my family of choice.” In my heart, they’re my best friends, therefore I can’t wait to shout out our songs and reunite with them once more.

In 1946, Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd and gave birth to Wynonna the week she graduated from high school. Before bringing Wynonna and her other daughter, Ashley, back to Kentucky, she went to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, according to an article published in the New York Times in 1984, at the height of the Judds’ fame. When she and Wynonna started singing together informally, it was the moment.

According to Wynonna Judd, “I believe it was a natural evolution of Mom hearing my voice and humming along,” she said in 2010. As if we were one, she has suddenly become verbally bonded to me before I had a chance to realise what’s happening.


It was in 1979 when Naomi and Wynonna relocated to Nashville and started a singing career. There, “all of us slept on the same bed and we ate bologna and crackers,” Judd claimed in an interview with The Wall Street Journal back in 2017. RCA Records finally signed Judd and her daughter and issued their first EP Wynonna & Naomi in 1984. The Judds shot to stardom in country music because to their mother-daughter connection, stunning red hair, and sweet vocal harmonies. For their efforts, the band was nominated for five Grammy Awards and nine Country Music Association Awards between 1984 and 1991. They have 20 No. 1 singles to their name during that time period.

After Naomi Judd was stricken with hepatitis C and Wynonna sought a solo career, the Judds stopped performing in the 1990s. The doctors all indicated I would die in three years, and that was in 1990, Judd stated to NPR. “I reassured them that I was not going to pass away. I’m in great shape, and I’m radiating with health and vitality.”

It wasn’t long until the couple reunited and performed again, most recently at the CMT Awards in 2022, when they sang “Love Can Build a Bridge.” The memoir River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope, written by Naomi Judd when she was no longer performing with her daughter, was published in subsequent years.


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