Loretta Lynn is an early country artist born on April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Married at the age of 16 to Oliver Lynn and a full-time mother of four children, she learned to play the guitar and sang locally. At the age of 20, with the support of her husband, she pursued music and was signed under Zero Records in 1959. Her first single was “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” and it became a minor hit in 1960 after promoting her song by asking country music radio stations to play it. She didn’t stay under Zero Records for long because when she moved to Tennessee she was invited to be part of Decca Records, where she released her big number “Success” in 1962. That song was greatly influenced by Patsy Cline when they became close friends. Like many country songs that tell stories—she wrote about relationships, struggles of mothers and wives, and war.
Loretta soon found her own style in the top songs “Wine, Women, and Song”, “Happy Birthday”, and “Blue Kentucky Girl” (1964). Her music is attentive to her powerful and a bit raspy voice. Her next set of hit songs—“You Ain’t Woman Enough (to Take My Man)”, Don’t Come Home A’Drink’ (with Lovin’ On Your Mind)”, and “Fist City”—revealed her to be a strong woman that stands up for herself.
One of her all-time best hits was “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. It was an autobiographical piece that described who she was and where she came from. Loretta came from a poor family with seven siblings. She’s proud of her coal miner father because he loved them dearly and managed to support them through rough times during the Great Depression.
Along with 68 hit songs, she’s won two Best Female Vocalist awards and became the first female to win Entertainer of the Year award from the Country Music Association. Her music helped shaped country music from Shania Twain to Dixie Chicks. Loretta’s latest album is the Grammy Award-winning album “Van Lear Rose” released in 2004. Today, she is still going strong and touring around the South. Her incredible song writing skills and voice has made her a legendary country icon.
By Tammy Lo