Country singer, songwriter. Born Loretta Webb, on April 14, 1935, in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. The daughter of a coal miner, the 13-year-old Loretta married Oliver Doolittle “Mooney" Lynn in 1948. Mooney was a logging camp worker whose job required the couple to move to Custer, Washington. When Loretta was 14 years old, she gave birth to her first child. She had three more children by the time she was 17 and her fondness for singing to them inspired Mooney to buy her a guitar.
With the encouragement of Mooney, Lynn began singing at local bars and clubs. In the late 1950s, Lynn recorded the song “Honky Tonk Girl,” which she marketed by visiting radio stations around the U.S. The song eventually secured a place at No. 14 on the country charts and awarded Lynn the opportunity to perform at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry in 1960. The exposure led to a long-term contract with the Decca record label (a division of MCA Records), for whom she would record a slew of hits over the next 20 years.
In 1962, Lynn became a permanent member of the Grand Ole Opry and subsequently relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. Later that year, Lynn recorded the song “Success,” which secured a spot at No. 6 on the country charts. By the mid-1960s, Lynn was the most popular female country singer in America and had a string of chart-topping singles, including “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” (1966), “Fist City” (1968), and “Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone)” (1969).
Released in 1970, the autobiographical "Coal Miner's Daughter" became Lynn's signature song. Later that year, she began touring with Conway Twitty. Throughout the early 1970s, Lynn and Twitty recorded a number of hit duets, including “After the Fire Is Gone” and “Lead Me On” (both 1971), followed by “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” (1973), “As Soon As I Hang Up the Phone” (1974), and “Feelins” (1975). The following year, Lynn (with New York Times reporter George Vecsey) published her autobiography — Coal Miners’ Daughter. The memoir sold phenomenally well and captivated such a wide audience that it inspired a 1980 film version of the same name, in which Sissy Spacek won a Best Actress Oscar for her heart-wrenching portrayal of Lynn.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Lynn continued to tour extensively, while recording such notable albums as Just a Woman (1985) and Honky Tonk Girl (1994), with fellow country superstars Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Most recently, Lynn released her first solo album in over 12 years — Still Country — which yielded the singles “Country in My Genes” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough, as well as a handful of moving ballads dedicated to her late-husband who died in 1996 from diabetes-related health problems.
In 1988, Lynn was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
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