Country Legend Loretta Lynn Passes Away At 90

CMA 2016 Country Christmas

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 08: Singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn performs on stage during the CMA 2016 Country Christmas on November 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

I feared this day would not be far away. Loretta Lynn passed away today at the age of 90 at her home in Tennessee. As a fan of Country Music and its history I have long appreciated what Loretta Lynn meant to the world especially her female fans. Her hits like "Fist City", "Don't Come Home A'Drinkin'" and "You Ain't Woman Enough" gave women the strength to say 'that's enough' when it came to being mistreated by men. You might not have noticed she was a feminist before feminism was a thing. Just listen to "The Pill" and "One's On The Way". She Racked Up 16 number one hits, some of which were duets with Conway Twitty. Among my favorites was "You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly". I once had the privilege to interview Loretta Lynn and I asked where she stood in the history of Country Music and she said "I'm just another singer". Through the years she played our local county fairs and was so genuinely sweet to her fans. Her daughters Peggy & Patsy performed at the Ashland County Fair in the 1990's.

Loretta Lynn with WNCO's Kelly Sheehan (Appleby) and our daughter Sara.Photo: Matt Appleby

Here's more about Loretta Lynn:

Loretta Lynn died today (Tuesday) in at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was 90 years old. A country legend and early feminist, she may be best remembered for the autobiographical song "Coal Miner's Daughter" and the 1980 bio-pic of the same name.

  • Born on April 14th, 1935 in Butcher Holler, Kentucky
  • Incredibly influential country singer since her debut in 1960
  • Partnered with Conway Twitty as one of the most successful duos in history
  • Wrote her autobiography The Coal Miner’s Daughter in 1976 which was made into an award winning movie in 1980
  • She is the most awarded female country recording artist and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade

Loretta Lynn was born Loretta Webb on April 14th, 1935 in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, the second of eight children to Ted and Clara Webb. Loretta wasn’t the only musical sibling in the family -- brother Jay Lee Webb and sister Peggy Sue were both part of her band but eventually struck out on their own. And baby sister Crystal Gayle was quite successful in the ‘70s and ‘80s recording pop-crossover hits including the number-one “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

In 1948, at age 13, Loretta married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, or “Doolittle.” The couple had four children by the time she was 18, then twin girls in the ‘60s who later became the duo The Lynns.

Doo gave Loretta her first guitar when she was 18, and she immediately taught herself to play. She began performing at local clubs before catching the attention of a promoter at Zero Records, which recorded her first single, “Honky Tonk Girl,” in 1960. It became a hit thanks in large part to Doo’s independent promotion, which included driving Loretta to radio stations across the country to encourage them to play the song. “Honky Tonk Girl” also caught the attention of the Wilburn brothers, who took her on tour and encouraged her to move to Nashville.

Loretta’s strong feminist views were reflected in her biggest hits -- “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Fist City” and “The Pill.” However, in 1971 she partnered with the late Conway Twitty and they became one of the most successful duos in history. The professional relationship produced such legendary hits as “After the Fire Is Gone,” “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” and “Feelin’s.”

Loretta’s life and early success were documented in the 1976 autobiography Coal Miner’s Daughter, named after her number-one hit. A highly succesful film starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones followed in 1980, earning Sissy an Oscar for Best Actress. In 1988, Loretta was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame,and more recently she received critical acclaim for the CD Van Lear Rose, produced by Jack White of The White Stripes.

Loretta is preceded in death by her husband Doolittle, son Jack Benny and daughter Betty Sue. She is survived by four children -- CissyErnestPeggy and Patsy, named after Patsy Cline.

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