In exactly 24 hours Loretta Lynn will be inducted to the Music City Walk of Fame. Before you join us tomorrow we thought you should know a few things. So, read below, get excited, and we will see you at 1pm, June 4, at Walk of Fame Park.
Loretta is one of eight children raised in dire poverty in remote Appalachian Kentucky. She famously married Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn when she was a barely schooled child of 13. When she was seven months pregnant with her first child, they moved far away from Appalachia to Custer, Washington. By age 18, she had four children (two more, twins, came along in 1964).
Doo began pushing her to perform in area nightclubs. Executives from Zero Records heard her perform and she recorded her debut single, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” for the little label. The hit took the couple to Music City in 1960, where she began singing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. The show’s Wilburn Brothers took her under their wings. They took a tape of her singing “Fool #1” to producer Owen Bradley at Decca Records. Owen liked the song, but was already working with Kitty Wells, Goldie Hill, Brenda Lee, and Patsy Cline, and said he didn’t need another female singer. He was told he couldn’t have the song if he didn’t sign its singer. As a result, Brenda had a smash pop hit with “Fool #1,” and Loretta got a Decca Records contract.
“Success” became the first of her 51 top-10 hits and led to an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry. She won the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year Award in 1967, 1972, and 1973. In 1970 Lynn’s recording of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” became one of her biggest hits. She teamed with Ernest Tubb and Conway Twitty for several duets, resulting in a #1 hit with Tubb, and being named the CMA Vocal Duo of the Year Award from 1972 through 1975 with Twitty. In 1972, she became the first woman in history to win CMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award.
In 1976 her autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, became a best seller and was made into a hit movie. Simultaneously, she recorded major hits such as “Out of My Head and Back in My Bed,” “I’ve Got a Picture of Us on My Mind,” and the aptly titled “We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.”
Lynn was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. Following her husband’s death in 1996, Lynn returned to solo recording after a hiatus of more than 10 years. Still Country was released in 2000 by Audium Records with the hit “Country in my Genes,” her 78th single to chart in Billboard. She published her second memoir, Still Woman Enough, in 2002. She was honored at The Kennedy Center in 2003, and the following year won two GRAMMYs for Van Lear Rose, a collaboration with Jack White. She was inducted into the national Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in 2008. She won a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and was honored with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 2013. Loretta Lynn’s life is still a work in progress. She’s still out there on the road, still writing songs, and still recording them as only she can.