Loretta Lynn, the iconic singer once known as the Queen of Country Music, has died, her family said in a statement Associated Press. She was 90.
Many people remember Lynn as the miner’s daughter, a phrase that refers to Lynn’s hit single and album, as well as the film based on her autobiography.
Loretta Webb was born in 1932 in the coal mining community of Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Lynn was one of eight children in a two-room log cabin. At 15 years old, she met Army veteran Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn at a party and they were married a month later.
By the time she was 20, after the couple moved to Washington state, she had four children.
“If I am anything in this world, I am a wife and a mother.” she said in a 1990 Guideposts story. “I enjoy my performing and music career, but the most important thing is my family.”
Lynn learned to play the guitar and began to sing in his spare time, according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She was spotted by Norm Burley during a TV talent competition and he started a label to record her.
Among her first major hitwere “Wine, Women and Song,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Blue Kentucky Girl,” which began a successful run of singles nearing the top of the country music charts.
“Such hits were early hints of Loretta’s undeniably strong female point of view—a perspective unique to both country music and pop music in general at the time, and a trend in her music that became more pronounced as she began to write more own songs,” the Songwriters Hall of Fame reports.
In 1970, three years after she won the inaugural Female Vocalist of the Year Award. at the Country Music Association Awards, Lynn recorded the song “Miner’s Daughter”, which became her signature song, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The song was also the title of her 1976 autobiography, which became a 1980 film starring Sissy Spacek.
Widely successful as a solo act, Lynn also enjoyed recognition as a duo with Ernest Tubb and Conway Twitty. Some of her hits with Twitty included “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” and “After the Fire is Gone,” which helped the pair win all CMA Awards for Vocal Duo of the Year from 1972 to 1975reports PBS.
“Everybody thought Conway and I had things going on. And that’s the furthest thing from the truth,” Lynn told PBS. “I loved Conway as a friend and my husband loved him. Conway was really the only person in the music business that Du gave a lot of money for.’
In 1972, she became the first woman to be named CMA Artist of the Year. From 1966 to 1978, she recorded 16 No. 1 songs, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Lynn’s accolades include induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She was honored at the Kennedy Center in 2003 and won three Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award.
From her husband, who died in 1996, she gave birth to six children. Her son Jack did in 1984 and her oldest child, Betty Sue, died in 2013.
Lynn continues to record music into the 21st century, including winning two Grammy Awards with Jack White. On her January 2021 album Still Woman Enough, Lynn recorded songs with some of the most iconic women in country music — Reba McIntyre, Tanya Tucker and Carrie Underwood.
“I think she was a feminist long before her time, long before anyone knew what the word meant, because she lived it,” one country singer, Tricia Yearwood, said of Lynn. “She lives it to the fullest. Her music is timeless, her message is true.”
This story was originally published October 4, 2022 at 10:35 am.