Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter whose frank songs about life and love as a woman in Appalachia pulled her out of poverty and made her a pillar of country music, has died. She was 90.
Lynn’s family said in a statement that was given to The Associated Press that she passed away on Tuesday at her home in the town of Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
Before she began her career in the early 1960s, Lynn already had four children, and the songs she wrote showed her pride in the rural Kentucky milieu from which she came.
She built a reputation of a proudly tough woman as a composer, which is in contrast to the image that is typically associated with the majority of female country artists. The artist, who is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was not afraid to write about sexuality and love, as well as adultery, divorce, and birth control, and as a result, she occasionally ran afoul of radio programmers for covering subject matter that rock musicians had previously avoided.
Her most successful songs were released in the 1960s and 1970s, and they include “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “The Pill,” “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Rated X,” and “You’re Looking at Country.” Her career peaked in the 1960s and 1970s. She was noted for wearing floor-length dresses that were broad and embellished with extravagant embroidery or rhinestones, many of which were designed by Tim Cobb, who had worked as her personal assistant and designer for many years.
Her straightforwardness and singular presence in the world of country music were rewarded. She was the first woman in history to be honored with the title of entertainer of the year at either of the genre’s two major award events. The Country Music Association bestowed the honor upon her in 1972, and the Academy of Country Music followed suit in 1975.
Her autobiography, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” was published in 1969, and it was this book that enabled her attract her largest audience to that point.
A film with the same name as her 1976 book, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” was released in 1980. The book was also titled “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Her performance as Lynn earned Sissy Spacek an Oscar nomination, and the movie was also considered for the award for best picture.
Long after she had reached her commercial zenith, in 2005 Lynn won two Grammys for the album “Van Lear Rose.” The album comprised 13 songs that she had written, including the song “Portland, Oregon,” which was about a drunken one-night encounter. Jack White, a rock musician, contributed to both the production of the album and the playing of the guitar sections. This resulted in the song “Van Lear Rose.”
She was the second of eight children and was given the name Loretta Webb. She claimed that her birthplace was Butcher Holler, which is located close to the town of Van Lear, which is home to a coal mining operation. On the other hand, there was no such thing as a Butcher Holler. She then revealed to a reporter that she had fabricated the name for the purposes of the song by basing it on the names of the family that actually resided in the area.
She was raised on the music of the Carter Family, as both of her parents were accomplished musicians (her father on the banjo and her mother on the guitar.
She stated in her memoirs that she was 13 years old when she got married to Oliver “Mooney” Lynn; however, the Associated Press subsequently unearthed state records that revealed she was 15 years old at the time. In the movie adaptation of Mooney Lynn’s life, Tommy Lee Jones portrayed the character.
Her selection as the artist of the decade for the 1970s by the Academy of Country Music led to her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In addition, she was honored with the Artist of the Decade award.
She was married to her spouse for nearly half a century before he passed away in 1996. They welcomed six children into the world: Betty, Jack, Ernest, and Clara, followed by twins Patsy and Peggy. She was a great-grandmother to 17 grandkids and four step-grandchildren.