This year marks the 55th anniversary of the arrival of the first lady of country, Loretta Lynn, on the music scene. Her 1960 debut single, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” made it to number 14 on Billboard’s Country and Western Chart. Hear it here:
Born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky to the family of coal Miner, Theodore Melvin (Ted) Webb, on April 14, 1932, Lynn grew up fast. She married at the extremely young age of 13, to 21-year-old Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, a war veteran with a hell-raiser reputation. Husband “Doo” moved her to Custer, Washington when she was expecting their first child, and by the ripe old age of 18, she had given birth to four children: Peggy Sue, Jack Benny, Ernest Ray, and Clara Marie—named after her mother. (Her twin daughters, Peggy and Patsy, were born 14 years later, in 1964).
While not best known for her cooking or home organization skills, it was not until Doo realized what a great singing voice she possessed that he discovered her strengths lay not only in birthing babies. He committed to making her a star, and the rest is music history, because it wasn’t long before a country star was born.
During her 55-year career, Lynn has written over 160 songs, achieving 16 number 1 singles, and 10 number 1 albums on the country charts. She has sold over 48 million albums worldwide, having recorded a total of 70, including 54 studio albums, 15 compilation albums, and 1 tribute album.
Watch a heartfelt performance of her signature song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” with glimpses of her family and childhood:
Video from the 1976 television show, Pop! Goes The Country
Lynn has also won a large number of awards ranging from “Grammys” to “CMAs” to “ACMs”. In addition, she is ranked 65th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll, and was the first female country artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1977. Eleven years later in 1988, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. See the ceremony clip here:
Other recognition includes Lynn’s induction into the National Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in 2008, followed by the receipt of the “Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2010. But it was not until just recently that she was finally inducted into Nashville’s newly renovated Music City Walk of Fame alongside Nashville Rocker Jack White. The two have become friends since White produced Lynn’s 2004 Grammy award-winning studio album, Van Lear Rose. Watch the induction clip: