Loretta Lynn was born on April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. The coal miner's daughter cut her first record in 1960 and never stopped. Lynn has won more awards than any other female country music artist in history. In her over six decades as a recording artist, she has scored 11 No. 1 albums and 24 No. 1 hit singles. Although health issues forced her to stop touring in 2017, Lynn continued to release new music, including Still Woman Enough, her 50th studio album, which was released in 2021.
The country queen passed away on Oct. 4, 2022. Below, look back at her incredible life and legacy.
1960: Lynn Cuts Her First Record
Loretta Lynn married Oliver Vanetta "Doolittle" Lynn when she was only 15 years old. With her husband's encouragement, Lynn bought herself a $17 Harmony guitar and taught herself how to play it. She started her own band, Loretta and the Trailblazers, with her brother Jay Lee on lead guitar. Lynn cut her first record, "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," in 1960 and became a fixture on the Nashville scene. Other 1960s hits include "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" and "Fist City."
1970s: Lynn Forms a Professional Partnership with Conway Twitty
In 1971, Lynn and Conway Twitty began a professional partnership that yielded numerous number-one hits, including the Grammy-winning "After the Fire Is Gone," "Lead Me On," "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," "As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone" and "Feelins'." She became the first woman to be nominated for and win the CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1972. Four years later, Lynn released her best-selling autobiography Coal Miner's Daughter. In 1977, she recorded a tribute album, I Remember Patsy, dedicated to her friend Patsy Cline, who lost her life in a plane crash in 1963.
1980: The Film Coal Miner's Daughter Is a Huge Hit
A movie adaptation of Lynn's autobiography, Coal Miner's Daughter, was released in 1980 with Sissy Spacek starring as Lynn. The movie was a box office hit and got nominated for seven Oscars, with Spacek winning Best Actress. Other 1980s hit songs by Lynn include "Pregnant Again," "Naked in the Rain," "I Lie" and "Somebody Led Me Away."
1993: Lynn Teams Up with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette
In 1993, Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette released the hit album Honky Tonk Angels. The project featuring the three country goddesses had been rumored for over a decade, as you can see above in this picture from the early 1980s, until Parton's persistence finally made it happen. In 1996, Lynn's husband passed away just a few days shy of his 70th birthday. This unexpected loss shaped Lynn's artistic output going forward.
2002: Lynn Publishes Her Second Autobiography
In 2002, Lynn released her second best-selling autobiography, Still Woman Enough. Two years later, Lynn published her first cookbook and released the album Van Lear Rose, the second album for which Lynn either wrote or cowrote every song. The White Stripes' Jack White produced the album, which won the Best Country Album of the Year Grammy, and provided backup vocals and guitar work.
2010s: Lynn Releases More Albums Despite Health Issues
In 2015, Lynn released her 43rd solo studio album, Full Circle, which featured guest vocalists Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello. In 2017, Lynn suffered a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. This delayed the release of her album Wouldn't It Be Great until 2018, the same year she also broke her hip. Sadly, because of these health setbacks, Lynn has not toured or sang at the Grand Ole Opry since 2017. She is pictured above in 2016 performing at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
2021: Lynn Releases Her 50th Studio Album
Loretta Lynn's 2021 album Still Woman Enough is her 50th studio album overall and her 46th solo studio album. Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire lend their voices to the title track, while Tanya Tucker and Margo Price sing duets with Lynn on other tracks.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in April of 2022. It was updated on Oct. 4, 2022.
READ MORE: Loretta Lynn's Ranch Tells the Story of the Country Icon's Life
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