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R.I.P. Loretta Lynn, groundbreaking country music star in the late '60s and early '70s

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: October 4, 2022, 12:37PM    Tags: Obituary

Loretta Lynn was one of the most influential women in country music history. From her rise to fame in the late-Sixties and early-Seventies, to a pair of Grammys in the mid-2000s, Lynn's lyrics have resonated with millions of listeners in a relateable and powerful manner for over 50 years. 

Often referred to as one of the queens of country music, her roots in rural America, specifically Van Lear, Kentucky, sprouted a career that took pride in a simple upbringing, and a career that challenged stereotypes for female country singers of the time.

Lynn gave her fans a look into her early life in small-town America with one of her biggest hits, "Coal Miner's Daughter." In the tune, which begins with a classic banjo riff and the southern drawl of Lynn singing, "well I was born a miner's daughter. In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler." 

According to the Associated Press, Lynn claimed "Butcher Holler" was her birthplace in Kentucky but, "there really wasn't a Butcher Holler... She later told a reporter that she made up the name for the purposes of the song." 

"Coal Miner's Daughter" was arguably the hit that reached the most people, relating to the everyday life of a small coal town, with lyrics like "mommy rocked the babies at night, and read the Bible by coal oil light. And everything would start all over come break of morn." 

Her other big hits included "You Ain't Woman Enough," "Don't come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," and "You're Lookin' At Country." 

Lynn didn't shy away from writting about birth control, cheating men and divorce with titles like "Rated X" and "The Pill." 

She collaborated with coutry music legend Conway Twitty in 1973 with another hit in "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man." 

Lynn was widely recognized for her hits, earning the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year title in 1967, 1972 and 1973. In 1972, she became the first woman to earn the CMA's Entertainer of the Year Award, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame website. A short two years later, the Academy of Country Music also named her Entertainer of the Year. 

Her book, fittingly titled Coal Miner's Daughter, was re-created for the silver screen in 1980. Playing Lynn was Sissy Spacek, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the country star, according to the AP. 

She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988 but wasn't done creating successful music just yet. 

In 2005, Lynn won a pair of Grammys for her Van Lear Rose album, which featured the title track along with "Portland, Oregon" and 11 other tunes.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Lynn's family says the singer died Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022 at her home in Hurricane, Tennessee.

She was 90.