There are few names in country music that are as legendary as Loretta Lynn. With a career spanning over 50 years, Lynn managed to rise from being literally a coal miner’s daughter, to one of the most famous and successful names in American country music history. Across dozens of albums recorded by her and in duo with Conway Twitty, she charted numerous number one hits. After a long and celebrated life, she has passed away at the age of 90.
Lynn reportedly passed peacefully in her sleep. The mentions of her being the daughter of a coal miner stem from the fact that not only did she have such incredibly humble origins, but the biopic about her life was also named, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Sissy Spacek took on the role of Lynn in the 1980 film and earned herself an Academy Award for best Actress for doing so. Lynn’s husband, Oliver Lynn, commonly known as “Doolittle” acted as Loretta’s manager but was also a womanizer and violent alcoholic by Loretta’s own admission.
Her life was fraught with difficulty but it didn’t stop her from dominating the country charts throughout the ’60s and ’70s. Though her popularity waned in the decades to follow, her career surged back in the late 2010’s. In the last six years of her life she managed to release four albums, some of which were comprised of brand new material Lynn had written, well into her ’80s. Of the many things that could define her career, that has to be one of the most significant in how much of her own material she wrote.
Notably, one of the songs she co-wrote was “The Pill.” This 1975 single became controversial in its open statements about women’s reproductive rights and the power that women should have over their own bodies. It’s a somewhat surprising take for a woman who is more of a traditional Christian conservative, enough so to where she was an open supporter of Donald Trump. Regardless, her music often times channeled moral norms of the time; a rarity in popular country music.
Lynn’s discography is incredibly vast to the point where it’s almost intimidating to go through. This is all the more impressive given the number of songs she wrote or co-wrote. That kind of legacy is one that will last for decades to come. Country music has lost one of its longest and most powerful voices. Her family has asked for privacy during this time. Even at 90 years old, Loretta Lynn seemed to have a lot of life left in her. Our hearts go out to those grieving not just the loss of her, but of all she still had left to give the world.