Loretta Lynn — born Loretta Webb on April 14, 1932 – grew up as the second of eight children in a poor Appalachian coal mining community, where she would begin her singing career humbly in the church choir.
She was married by 16 years old and had four children by 20, but her desire to sing music did not wane. With encouragement from her husband, she set forth in pursuit of a recording contract and landed one in 1959 with Zero Records. Her first single, I’m A Honkey Tonk Girl, became a minor hit in 1960, so she packed her bags for Nashville.
In Nashville, she moved to a new label, Decca Records, with producer Owen Bradley and scored her first big hit, Success, in 1962. It was there that she befriended Patsy Cline, who mentored her in the world of country music. By 1964, Lynn had amassed a number of Top 10 country hits, and by 1967 she reached the top of the charts with You Ain’t Women Enough (To Take My Man) and ended up winning the CMA for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Lynn would eventually rise to the top of country music — with songs like Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind), Coal Miner’s Daughter, Fist City, The Pill, and One’s On The Way – and was at the forefront of the women’s liberation movement.
Her lyrical content, which was at times controversial (she did not shy away from condemning the Vietnam War or exploring themes of female sexuality), injected humor and personal experience into raw and honest subject matter, capturing everyday struggles of women of all kinds.
Her story is one of the most celebrated in American music, as evidenced by her numerous CMA, Grammy and CMT awards, along with her spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame, her receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and countless other accolades.
In recent years, Lynn released her 2000 album Still Country, penned her 2002 memoir Still Woman Enough and collaborated with alternative rock icon Jack White on the 2004 album Van Lear.
This year, she released the aptly titled album Full Circle, which takes listeners on a journey through the country icon’s musical biography — from the Appalachian folk songs and gospel music she learned as a child, to new interpretations of her classic hits and country standards, to songs newly written for the project.
“Loretta Lynn is not only a cornerstone in country music, but she is interwoven into the fabric of American culture,” said SiriusXM’s Dallas Wayne, host on both the Willie’s Roadhouse and Outlaw Country channels. “Her new album Full Circle is dead-solid perfect. At 84 years young, she’s not even close to being done. Here’s to many more circles!”
Happy birthday to the Coal Miner’s Daughter, Loretta Lynn.
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