Loretta Lynn, whose story of heartbreak and poverty is among the most famous in the country music canon, has died at the age of 90.
Lynn died on October 4 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, her family confirmed.
Beginning with 1966’s Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (with Lovin’).
Mind you), he topped the US state charts 16 times and was nominated for 18 Grammy Awards, winning three. He recorded a total of 60 studio albums.
Born Loretta Webb in 1932 in a one-room cottage in rural Kentucky, Lynn was one of eight children and the daughter of a miner—a fact that led to her signature 1970s song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
She married 21-year-old Oliver Lynn at the age of 15, a month after meeting him. Despite Oliver’s frequent infidelity and struggles with alcoholism, the couple remained together for 48 years until Oliver’s death in 1996. They had six children together, three of whom were born before Lynn was 20 years old.
Oliver bought her a guitar as a birthday present in 1953, and Lynn formed a band with her brothers Jay Lee, Loretta and the Trailblazers, while living as a stay-at-home mom, now in Washington state. She began writing her own songs and released her debut single “I’m a Honky-Tonk Girl” in 1960. “Because we were too poor to stay in hotels, we slept in the car and ate cheese rolls and balloons in the park…we were out for three months,” he later recalled. The song was a hit, reaching the top 20 in the country and earning her entry to the major label, Decca.
“I’m a Honky-Tonk Girl” is inspired by the story of someone Lynn meets and befriends, and its subject – a woman devastated by a breakup – is repeated by Lynn pick up, whose songs often depict heartbreak or damaging relationships, often with a boisterous heroine. No. 1 both, Boxing City, pose a threat to other women to stay away from their husbands, while another country’s chart-topper, Rated X, discusses the stigma of divorce; 1975’s The Pill crossed the pop charts with a controversial and outspoken celebration of contraception.
Between 1964 and 1976, he maintained high production levels, with at least two and up to four albums a year. In addition to solo releases, he has worked with country music stars such as Conway Twitty, with whom he recorded 10 duet albums, and Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette for the 1993 album Honky Tonk Angels. He recorded with kd lang and was also friends with Patsy Cline, who recorded a tribute album to him after Cline died in a plane crash in 1963.
Lynn’s release rate slowed from the mid-1980s, but she experienced a major revival in 2004 with the album Van Lear Rose, which was produced by Jack White of the White Stripes. It became his best-selling album to date on the US charts, followed by his 2016 best-selling album Full Circle, which featured a duet with Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello. His most recent album is 2018 “Would’t It Be Great”.
Tommy Lee Jones and Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Tommy Lee Jones and Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter. Photo: Everett Collection/Rex Features
She wrote a successful autobiography, The Miner’s Daughter, in 1976, and her life story inspired the 1980 biopic of the same name. The film starred Sissy Spacek as Lynn and received seven Academy Award nominations, with Spacek winning Best Actress for Performance You Are.
Lynn is survived by four of her six children: Clara, Ernest and twins Peggy and Patsy.
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