The Heart-Wrenching Death Of Loretta Lynn

A coal miner’s daughter from Kentucky made good. Over her 90 years of life, Loretta Lynn accomplished an astonishing amount. Country music legend Loretta Lynn died on October 4, 2022, at the age of 90. Her family provided a statement to the Associated Press, noting the legendary singer died at home. Lynn was born a coal miner’s daughter in a log cabin in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, on April 14, 1932. She was the second of eight children; three of her siblings, Jay Lee Webb, Peggy Sue Wright, and Crystal Gayle, are also country singers. She sang in church as a

child, and at the age of just 13, married Oliver “Mooney” Lynn, also known as Doolittle Lynn. The couple moved to Custer, Washington, where job prospects were better for Mooney. Lynn had her first child at age 14, and had four children by the time she was 21. For her 26th birthday, her husband gave her a $17 guitar and encouraged her to sing and write songs. She began singing and playing guitar with bands at local clubs. She signed with Zero Records and wrote and recorded her first song, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” in 1960. “I didn’t write

when I was in Kentucky because I wasn’t old enough. Never seen nothin’, never done nothin’, so no, I didn’t write then.” The Lynns traveled to radio stations, hand-delivering the “I’m a Honky Tonk

Girl” single to DJs. They mailed it to thousands more stations. The song went to No. 14 on the country charts, according to AllMusic. Lynn made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry on September 17, 1960. Lynn caught the attention of the Wilburn Brothers, a singing duo who owned a talent agency and music publishing house. They encouraged Lynn to relocate to Nashville, where

she signed with Decca Records. Her first single on the label, 1962’s “Success,” went to No. 6 on the country charts. By the mid-1960s, she was writing and performing her sassy, feisty, outspoken signature songs, including “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Don’t Come Home a-Drinkin’ (with Lovin’ on Your Mind),” and “Fist City.” In her autobiography, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Lynn wrote, “Most of my songs were from the women’s point of view. That’s who I’m singing about and singing to during my shows. And the girls know it….Most of my fan club is women, which is how I want it.” AllMusic

notes that Lynn had 13 top 10 hits, with four No. 1 songs between 1966 and 1970. In 1971, she began a singing partnership with Conway Twitty, and together they had five consecutive No. 1 songs. They became one of country music’s most popular and successful duos. People Magazine notes that by the mid-1970s, Lynn was the most lauded woman in country music. In 1972, she was the first woman to be named Country Music Association’s entertainer of the year. She was awarded the Academy of Country Music’s female vocalist of the year three times in four years. In 1974,

Lynn released her song “The Pill,” an ode to reliable birth control. It was banned by 60 radio stations. The ban only made the song more popular. The single sold 15,000 copies per week, and remains one of Lynn’s signature songs. “You know? Everybody had to play it when it was on the charts.” Lynn told People, “If I’d had the pill back when I was havin’ babies I’d have taken ’em like popcorn. The pill is good for people. I wouldn’t trade my kids for anyone’s. But I wouldn’t necessarily have had six, and I sure would have spaced

’em better.” In 1976, Lynn published her best-selling autobiography “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” In 1980, it was adapted into an acclaimed movie starring Sissy Spacek, who won a best actress Oscar for her performance. Lynn had her last top 10 hit, “I Lie,” in 1982 and her last top 40 song, “Heart Don’t Do This to Me,” in 1985. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1993, she recorded the album “Honky Tonk Angels” with fellow country legends Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette, and in 2000, Lynn released the solo album “Still Country.” In 2004,

Lynn and Jack White of the White Stripes teamed up to record the album “Van Lear Rose.” It was a critical and commercial success and thrust Lynn back into the spotlight. Lynn wrote all 13 songs on the album and called it “countrier than anything I’ve ever cut.” “Van Lear Rose” won the Grammy for best country album and her duet with White, “Portland, Oregon,” won Best country collaboration with vocals. Lynn’s website notes that she has been inducted into more halls of fame than any other female recording artist. She received the Kennedy Center honors in 2003, a Lifetime

Achievement Grammy in 2010, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Lynn kept making music right up until the end. In 2016, she released “Full Circle,” a retrospective of her career featuring Appalachian folk music, reinterpretations of some of her signature hits, and brand-new songs. She followed with a Christmas album, “White Christmas Blue,” later that year. She released “Wouldn’t It Be Great” in 2018, and “Still Woman Enough” in 2021.

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