If Patsy Cline has influenced the way women sing in country music more
than any other, Loretta Lynn has had the most influence on what they sing
about. Since 1960, when she had her first hit with "I'm A Honky Tonk Girl,"
Lynn's best songs have offered a fierce combination of freedom and fidelity,
dealing unabashedly with such topics as birth control--"The
Pill"--divorce--"Rated X"--and marital respect--"Don't Come Home A'Drinkin'
(With Lovin' On Your Mind)."
Born Loretta Webb, April 14, 1934, in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, Lynn
married Oliver "Mooney" Lynn when she was just 13 and stayed with him until
his death in 1996. She had four kids by the time she was 18 and didn't have
her first hit until she was 26. After "I'm A Honky Tonk Girl," released on
the independent Zero and promoted personally by Mooney and Loretta at radio
stations across the country, Lynn had another 68 top 40 hits, all of them
for Decca or MCA. She joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1962, where she was
befriended and inspired by both Ernest Tubb and Patsy Cline. Such hits as
"You Ain't Woman Enough," "Fist City" and "Love Is the Foundation" brought
her Female Vocalist Of The Year awards from the Country Music Association in
1967, 1972 and 1973; she became the first woman to be named the
association's Entertainer Of The Year in 1972. She had more than a dozen
hits with Conway Twitty between 1971 and 1981; songs like "Lead Me On," "Feelins"
and "You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" were so emotionally convincing
that many country fans thought the two were married, and the duo won the
CMA's Vocal Duo Of The Year from 1972-75.
Lynn was named the Academy Of Country Music's Artist Of The Decade in
1980, the same year that her autobiography Coal Miner's Daughter
became a film starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. Lynn was elected to
the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1988. Though few of her original albums
are available today, the three-disc Honky Tonk Girl: The Loretta Lynn
Collection, released in 1994, is an excellent overview of Lynn's career.
This Biography was written by Brian Mansfield
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