About The Judds
Boldly confident lead vocals, subtle harmonies and spare, acoustic-driven instrumentation made The Judds’ recordings one of the most unique blocks of work in American music and cemented them as one of the most successful musical duos of all time. Their choice of songs emphasized traditional values and empathy for people engaged in everyday struggles. Although they only performed regularly between 1983 and 1991, they became music royalty to their fans and were recently nominated into the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.
Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd in Ashland, Kentucky, on Jan. 11, 1946. Her daughter, Wynonna, was born Christina Ciminella in Ashland on May 30, 1964. They moved to Los Angeles where Diana’s second daughter, Ashley Ciminella, was born on April 19, 1968. Diana renamed herself Naomi, and Christina became Wynonna before they relocated to Nashville in 1979.
In 1980, Naomi worked at Williamson County Medical Center as a nurse and she began pursuing a musical career for herself and Wynonna, making appearances on Ralph Emery’s local morning television show. In 1982, their break came via a chance encounter with Nashville producer Brent Maher, whose teenage daughter – a schoolmate of Wynonna’s – was injured in a car accident. Maher recognized Naomi from her television appearances and when Maher’s daughter was discharged, Naomi gave Maher a tape she & Wynonna had made. Maher started working with them and following a live audition, they secured a recording deal with RCA/Curb Records.
The Judds first single, “Had a Dream (For the Heart),” was released in November 1983 and made it to No. 17 on the Billboard country chart. Their next single, “Mama He’s Crazy,” was their first No. 1 song at country radio and won them their first Grammy award in 1984. All but two of their next 16 singles when to No. 1, including “Why Not Me,” “Have Mercy,” “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ole Days),” and “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain.” The duo released six studio albums and would go on to sell over 20 million records, win 5 Grammy Awards, 9 CMA Awards, and 8 ACM Awards. In 1986, The Judds received their first of three nominations for CMA Entertainer of the Year, making 22-year old Wynonna the youngest person ever to be nominated for the honor – a distinction she held for more than 20 years.
In October 1990, Naomi announced her retirement from performing due to chronic hepatitis. In 1991, The Judds embarked on a 124-date Love Can Build A Bridge Farewell Tour and ended it on December 4 in Murfreesboro, TN with a Pay-Per-View special, and it was one of the biggest selling tours of all time. “Love Can Build A Bridge” was their final single, released in December 1990, and was their last top 5 single.
Wynonna exploded onto the music scene in 1992 as a solo music superstar. Her first 3 singles, “She Is His Only Need,” “I Saw the Light,” and “No One Else on Earth,” all reached No. 1, as did her 1996 single, “To Be Loved By You.” Named “the voice of her generation” by Rolling Stone, her remarkable solo career launched her into pop culture icon status. She published her memoir, Coming Home to Myself in 1993. Naomi published her autobiography, Love Can Build A Bridge, in 1993.
Naomi & Wynonna reunited occasionally, performing at the halftime show for Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994, a 2000 reunion tour, the Stagecoach Festival and Calgary Stampede in 2008, and the Last Encore Tour in 2010-2011.
The Judds will make a triumphant return to the CMT Music Awards Stage on CBS in April 11 to perform their chart-topping and international hit, “Love Can Build A Bridge.” Filmed at the Music City Walk of Fame Park with the Country Music Hall of Fame behind them. This performance kicks off a soon-to-be momentous year for The Judds as they’re officially enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame in May 2022.