Charting Single With Albums and More During Yearlong Celebration
Marking the 50th anniversary of her first charting single–1960’s “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl”–country music great Loretta Lynn received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on this year’s January 31st Grammy broadcast. That honor will serve as just the beginning of a yearlong celebration of her extraordinary legacy, not only in country music (16 #1 singles among 51 Top 10s) but in American popular culture.
Growing up in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, Lynn had four of her six children before she was 18 and was a grandmother by 29. Yet the coalminer’s daughter became the Queen of Country. She has sung some of the most popular country songs ever recorded and also some of the most controversial.
Lynn was the first woman inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the first female country artist to have a gold album–titled after her first #1 single, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)”–and the first woman named the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year. The inspiring tale of her life, Coal Miner’s Daughter, became a 1976 best-seller. Four years later, the movie version earned seven Oscar nominations, with Sissy Spacek’s portrayal of Lynn winning for Best Actress. Ladies Home Journal once listed Lynn among the world’s 10 most admired women, alongside the likes of Mother Teresa and Jackie Kennedy. In 1988, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; her autobiographical “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was honored by National Public Radio in 2000 as one of the “100 most important American musical works of the 20th century”; and in 2003 she was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor.
Her ’60s hits such as “Blue Kentucky Girl,” “Fist City,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “You’ve Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out On Me)” presaged even greater success in the ’70s, with “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “You’re Looking At Country,” “One’s On The Way,” “Somebody Somewhere (Don’t Know What He’s Missin’ Tonight)” and “Trouble In Paradise.” She didn’t shy away from controversy either. “The Pill,” her look at birth control from a female perspective in 1975, was applauded by the women’s movement while some country radio stations boycotted the song.
Impressively, her partnership with Conway Twitty created the greatest male-female duo in country history even as she was solely nominated as CMA Female Vocalist of the Year every year but three from 1967-1981. For 12 consecutive years, 1971-1982, Twitty and Lynn were nominated as Vocal Duo of the Year by the CMA and won every year from 1972-1975. Five of their collaborations hit #1: “After The Fire Is Gone,” “Lead Me On,” “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,” “As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone” and “Feelins’.”
Today, Loretta Lynn continues to perform and record, 50 years after she first broke onto the charts as a honky-tonk girl.
During the year, special album releases, along with television programming, are expected, with details to be announced as they become available.