Born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, as one of eight children, Loretta (Webb) Lynn grew up in a coal mining family during the 1930s and ’40s. She met serviceman Oliver “Mooney” Lynn and was married at the age of 14. They had four children, and Mooney encouraged Loretta to play the guitar, hoping she would develop a musical ability to match her fantastic voice. Loretta began singing and playing in the area, scoring her first contract after a show in Tacoma, Washington. On the road, the couple stopped at every country station to put in the hands of DJs her first release, “I’m A Honky-Tonk Girl.”
Loretta made her way to Nashville, began cutting demos and found a new friend in Patsy Cline. Her first Top 10 hit, “Success,” shows Patsy’s influence in vocal style and strings. As her songwriting and style matured, Loretta’s lyrics about strong women and the men who failed them made her a working-class hero for women’s liberation in the 1960s.
Her popularity culminated with the song “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in 1970 and, in 1972, she became the first woman to win the County Music Association’s highest award, Entertainer of the Year. A biography of her life followed in the 1970s, and the film starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones became a success in 1980.
Lynn’s “I Lie” was a hit in 1982. She had 52 Top 10 hits and 16 number one singles. Through most of the ’90s, Lynn stayed out of the spotlight, but released the critically acclaimed "Van Lear Rose" with indie-rock producer and musician Jack White in 2005, bringing her music to a new generation.
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