Naomi (left) and Wynonna (right)
|Origin||Ashland, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Labels||RCA, Curb, Mercury|
The Judds were an American country music duo composed of Naomi Judd (born 1946) and her daughter Wynonna Judd (born in 1964). The duet signed to RCA Records in 1983 and released six studio albums between then and 1991. The Judds were one of the most successful acts in country music history, winning five Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and eight Country Music Association awards. They also had 25 singles on the country music charts between 1983 and 2000, 14 of which went to number one and six more of which made top ten on the same chart. In 1985, the duo appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits during Season 10. They also appeared on the PBS children's show Square One TV many times.
After eight successful years as a duet, the Judds ceased performing in 1991 after Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Soon after, Wynonna embarked on a highly successful solo career. The two have occasionally reunited for special tours, the most recent of which began in late 2010.
Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky. She played piano at her local church. At age 17, she married Michael Ciminella, with whom she had Christina Ciminella, who would later be renamed Wynonna Judd. After Diana's parents divorced, she and her daughter moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1968, and lived on welfare after she and Michael divorced in 1972. By 1979, Diana and her daughter moved back to Tennessee. Diana renamed herself Naomi and began playing music with her daughter, who sang lead and played guitar. At the same time, Naomi began studying to be a nurse.
Naomi was a dogged promoter of the act, and was reportedly propositioned, sexually harassed and dismissed when she tried to promote the act using a tape produced for $30 to Nashville music producers and to anyone who would listen. In 1983, they got their big break when Naomi convinced a record producer whose child she had cared for as a nurse to come to her home and listen to the act. The producer was "charmed" and the duo was signed by RCA and Curb. Their biggest hits, "Girls Night Out " (1985); "Turn it Loose" (1988); "Why Not Me" (1984); "I Know Where I'm Going (1987); and "Grandpa" (1986); electrified audiences. Naomi was the performer of the group, and the business leader, while Wynonna was the artistic and lyrical leader.
Wynonna and Naomi briefly reunited for a performance at the Super Bowl XXVIII halftime show. They reunited again in a commercial for the retail chain Kmart, performing the song "Changing for the Better". The duo also performed several shows in 1998. During this time, the duo also charted one more single credited to the Judds, as well as receiving an Academy of Country Music nomination for Duo of the Year in 2001. In addition, Naomi sang harmony on Wynonna's 2004 single "Flies on the Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)", although this song was credited as "Wynonna with Naomi Judd".
In 2008, the Judds once again reunited for a concert at the 2008 Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California, as well as two shows in Canada, including one at the world-famous Calgary Stampede and another at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival in Merritt, British Columbia. In 2009, the Judds performed at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville.
In February 2010, Wynonna Judd appeared on CBS's The Early Show and 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 tour, known as the Last Encore Tour, became an 18-city tour of the US that was expanded to 29 dates in 2011.
On September 14, 2010, the Judds appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show where Wynonna discussed "her recent weight loss, her year of living dangerously and what it's like going back on stage as part of the iconic duo, the Judds." The Judds also performed their new single "I Will Stand By You," which was released on iTunes that same day. In March 2011, Curb Records announced the release of the Judds' new album, I Will Stand by You: The Essential Collection, which features two new songs and twelve of the duo's hits. The album was released on April 5, 2011.
In April 2011, the Judds began starring in their first reality series, The Judds, on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The new series, which premiered April 10, follows the duo on their final concert tour and explores their mother-daughter relationship.
In October 2017, The Judds reunited in order to appear at the "All in for the Gambler" concert, the final Nashville concert by Kenny Rogers which took place at the Bridgestone Arena and featured performances by many of Rogers' friends. Wynonna sang "You Turn The Light On" before Naomi joined her to perform "Back to the Well".