Loretta Lynn dead: The singer of the coal miner’s daughter turned 90

Loretta Lynn, who rose from an impoverished childhood in the Kentucky coalfields to a seminal female country music star, has died. She was 90.

According to a statement shared by her family diversityLynn died Tuesday at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

Portrayed in an Oscar-winning twist by Sissy Spacek in the 1980 biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter (adapted from Lynn’s best-selling 1976 autobiography, co-written by George Vecsey), Lynn was one of the first women to achieve fame as a country singer.

She dominated the charts in the 1960s (when she was the femme country singer’s top chart) and 70s (when she was second only to Dolly Parton) and heralded 11 #1 country hits in her own right and more five chart hits. Topper with Conway Twitty, her regular duet partner of the ’70s. In all, she has charted 51 top 10 country singles.

Unlike most of her contemporaries, she wrote much of her material, beginning with her first chart hit “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” in the 1960s. Alongside her trenchant songs that address traditional honky-tonk themes like infidelity and divorce from a woman’s perspective (a rarity in the country), she wrote numbers that fearlessly embraced contemporary issues from the Vietnam War to contraception.

Although Lynn’s hits dried up after the early ’80s, she remained a loved and revered figure.

Lynn was widely credited as the model for Barbara Jean, the sensitive and tragic fictional country star in Robert Altman’s 1975 cast film Nashville, set in Music City. Singer/actress Ronee Blakely received Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy nominations for her work in the role.

Although Lynn, like her film double, was frequently distracted by illnesses throughout her career, she remained active as a concert and recording artist into the new millennium, receiving a renewed boost in her seventies.

In 2004 she recorded a new album Van Lear Rose with producer-guitarist Jack White of the White Stripes; The set won two Grammys, introducing them to a new audience of young rock listeners.

She was born Loretta Webb in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, the second of eight children; Her younger sister Brenda Gail also rose to fame as country star Crystal Gayle. Her father, a miner, later died of black lung disease.

At the age of 15, after a life of abject poverty, she married military veteran and local moonshineer Oliver Lynn (later known to fans of the singer by his nicknames “Doolittle” and “Mooney”). The couple left Kentucky for Washington State, where they raised four children together.

Encouraged by her husband and manager to play guitar and sing, Lynn began performing at local clubs, sometimes assisted by her brother, Jay Lee Webb. In Tacoma, she was discovered by Norm Burley, who ran Vancouver-based independent label Zero Records.

I’m a Honky Tonk Girl, Lynn’s first single for Zero, was recorded in Hollywood in February 1960 with a crack band that included steel guitarist Roy Lanham and pedal steel ace Speedy West. The song peaked at number 14 on the US country chart and established Lynn as a hot new voice in country music.

After a stint as a demo artist and in-house songwriter for the Wilburn Brothers publishing company, Lynn and her husband relocated to Nashville, where she was signed to country powerhouse Decca Records and mentored by producer Owen Bradley.

Her No. 6 single “Success” in 1962 launched a string of hits that for a time made her the only real rival of the country’s only established female star, Kitty Wells. (Lynn’s only contemporary rival, Bradley’s colleague Patsy Cline, died in a plane crash in March 1963.)

Lynn’s hard-edged top 10 entries included “Before I’m Over You” (#4, 1963), “Wine Women and Song” and “Happy Birthday” (both #3, 1964), and the autobiographical “Blue Kentucky.” Girl” (No. 7, 1965, and a No. 6 cover hit in 1979 for Emmylou Harris). She also memorably dated her idol, Texas honky tonker Ernest Tubb on a string of early singles.

She made great strides in the late ’60s with several big hits, many of them self-written and some of them inspired by her often wayward husband. She began in 1966 with the current Vietnam song “Dear Uncle Sam” (No. 4) and the hard-edged “You Ain’t Woman Enough” (No. 2) and achieved her first chart-topping song that year with her very personal composition ” Don’t Come Home a’Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”. Fist City (1968) and Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone) (1969) followed at the top.

“Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the autobiographical song that gave her title to her memoir, reached #1 in 1970; Her longest-running hit “One’s On the Way” (#1 for 16 weeks) followed a year later.

That same year, Lynn was first paired with Twitty, one of Decca’s established male hitmakers. Their 14 charting singles combined included a string of five #1 duets in 1971-75: “After the Fire Is Gone” (a Grammy winner for Best Country Duo/Group Performance), “Lead Me On,” ” Louisiana Woman, Mississippi”. Man”, “As soon as I hang up” and “Feelin’s”.

Lynn continued to score as a solo artist with memorable singles such as the divorce-themed “Rated ‘X'” (#1, 1972), the controversial look at birth control “The Pill” (#5, 1975) and “She’s Got You” (a cover of Patsy Cline’s hit) and “Out of My Head and Back in My Bed”, both of which reached #1 in 1977.

The critical and critical acclaim of Michael Apted’s feature film Coal Miner’s Daughter helped establish her as a legend. But her sound increasingly no longer suited contemporary tastes, and she recorded her final Top 10 single, “I Lie,” in 1982.

She split from MCA Records in 1988 – fittingly her last album for the label was a duet with Twitty – and did not perform solo on a major label for 16 years. However, in 1993 she teamed up with fellow stars Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette for the Columbia album Honky Tonk Angels.

Lynn employed herself as a live performer; She also ran a studio and museum at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, and sponsored an annual motocross championship race. In the early ’90s she reduced her concert schedule to take care of her ailing husband, who died in August 1996; The couple had been married for 48 years.

She kicked off the new millennium with an album, Still Country, for Nashville-based independent Audium Records. But it wasn’t until she hooked up with longtime admirer Jack White in 2004, at the age of 72, that she gained new attention and respect. Featuring 13 new songs either written or co-written by Lynn, “Van Lear Rose” received a 2005 Grammy for Best Country Album, while its single “Portland Oregon” took home Best Country Collaboration for Lynn and White.

Lynn was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988 and was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2003. In 2010 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy.

Lynn’s late career revival continued with 2016’s album Full Circle, co-produced by her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash, son of Johnny Cash. A new album, Wouldn’t It Be Great, was due out in 2017.

She is survived by four daughters and a son; Another son, Jack, accidentally drowned in 1984.

https://variety.com/2022/music/news/loretta-lynn-dead-dies-coal-miners-daughter-1235392682/ Loretta Lynn dead: The singer of the coal miner’s daughter turned 90

Charles Jones

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