Loretta Lynn, whose stories of heartbreak and poverty are among the most famous in the country music canon, has died aged 90.
Lynn died at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee on October 4, her family confirmed.
From 1966, Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on
Your Mind), she topped the US country charts 16 times and was nominated for 18 Grammy awards, winning three. She recorded 60 studio albums in all.
Born Loretta Webb in a rural one-room cabin in Kentucky in 1932, Lynn was one of eight siblings and the daughter of a coal miner – a fact that led to her seminal song, Coal Miner’s Daughter. of the 1970s.
She married at the age of 15 to Oliver Lynn, 21, a month after meeting him. Despite Oliver’s frequent infidelities and his struggle with alcoholism, the couple remained together for 48 years, until Oliver’s death in 1996. They had six children together, three of them before Lynn was 20 years.
Oliver bought her a guitar as a birthday present in 1953, and Lynn started a band with her brother Jay Lee, Loretta and the Trailblazers, while living as a housewife, now in Washington state. She began writing her own songs and released her first single, I’m a Honky-Tonk Girl, in 1960. It was released on a small independent label, and she and Oliver stubbornly marketed the single themselves while driving from one country radio station to another. “Because we were too poor to stay in hotels, we slept in the car and ate baloney and cheese sandwiches in parks…we were on the road for three months,” she later recalled. The song was a hit, reaching the Top 20 nationwide, and led to her being signed to major label Decca.
I’m a Honky-Tonk Girl was inspired by the story of someone Lynn met and befriended, and its subject – a woman devastated by a breakup – would be visited again and again by Lynn , whose songs often depicted broken hearts or damaging relationships. , and often featured fiery heroines. Her second No. 1, Fist City, was a threat to other women not to come near her husband, while another country topping the charts, Rated X, addressed the stigma of divorce; The 1975 pill shot up the pop charts with its controversial and outspoken celebration of birth control.
She maintained a high release rate, with at least two and up to four albums each year between 1964 and 1976. In addition to solo releases, she associated with country stars such as Conway Twitty, with who she recorded 10 duet albums, and Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette for the 1993 album Honky Tonk Angels. She recorded with kd lang and also had a friendship with Patsy Cline, recording a tribute album to her after Cline died in a plane crash in 1963.
Lynn’s release tempo slowed from the mid-1980s, but she enjoyed a much-publicized resurgence in 2004 with the album Van Lear Rose, produced by Jack White of the White Stripes. It became his highest charting album in the US to date, and was followed by his highest charting album of all time, 2016’s Full Circle, which included duets with Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello. His most recent album is 2018’s Wouldn’t It Be Great.
She wrote a bestselling autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, in 1976, and her life story inspired a 1980 biopic of the same name. It starred Sissy Spacek as Lynn and earned seven Oscar nominations, with Spacek winning Best Actress for her performance.
Lynn is survived by four of her six children: Clara, Ernest and twins Peggy and Patsy.