New York Daily News: By Larry McShane – Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter turned “Queen of Country Music” across seven trailblazing decades as a singer, songwriter and role model, died Tuesday at her Tennessee home. She was 90.
“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, in her sleep at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” her family announced in a statement.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, already the mother of four when her career began in the 1960s, emerged as both a star performer and new voice in country music, writing her own songs and creating her persona as an artist unafraid of topics like sex, divorce, birth control and cheating spouses.
Lynn became the first woman ever cited as entertainer of the year at country music’s two major awards shows, honored first by the Country Music Association in 1972 and three years later by the Academy of Country Music.
“We’ve been like sisters all these years we’ve been in Nashville and she was a wonderful human being, wonderful talent, had millions of fans and I’m one of them,” tweeted fellow star Dolly Parton. “I miss her dearly as we all will.”
Her fans crossed generations and genres, with Lynn paving the way for current artists like Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. Rocker Jack White collaborated with Lynn on the 2004 comeback album “Van Lear Rose” as her songs reached a new generation of listeners.
“Rest in all kinds of power, Loretta Lynn,” said musician Roseann Cash in a Twitter post. “We’ll miss you.”
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Carole King weighed in as well, adding a heart emoji to her tweet: “She was an inspiration. RIP Loretta Lynn”
The native of Butcher Hollow, Ky., was the second of eight children, including singer Crystal Gayle. She was the daughter of a coal miner and the wife of one-time moonshiner Oliver “Doo” Lynn, who became her manager after their marriage when she was just 15.
Her first attempts at songwriting came on a $17 guitar bought at Sears Roebuck, and she scored her first hit with “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” in 1960 — the same year Lynn debuted at the Grand Ole Opry.
Her biggest successes came in the 1960s and ‘70s with a string of country classics including “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “The Pill,” “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” and “You’re Looking at Country.”
“Oh, sweet Loretta Lynn,” tweeted fellow country artist Leeann Rimes Cibrian. “What a life! What an icon! What a trailblazer! What a beautiful soul! May she rest peacefully with the angels. My heart is with her family and friends.”
At her peak during the 1970s, Lynn scored 24 country hits and teamed with Conway Twitty on five No 1 singles. Their successes included “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” and “After the Fire is Gone,” with the latter earning the pair a Grammy Award.
The Academy of Country Music chose honored Lynn as their artist of the decade for the 1970s. And she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988.
Her approach to songwriting, she told The Associated Press in 2016, was simple, “It was what I wanted to hear and what I knew other women wanted to hear, too. I didn’t write for the men, I wrote for us women. And the men loved it, too.”
Lynn’s autobiographical song “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” released in 1969, led to a successful 1976 book turned into a hit 1980 movie of the same name. Actress Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn, and the film was nominated for best picture.
Lynn enjoyed a commercial comeback with a pair of Grammy Awards in 2005 for her album “Van Lear Rose,” where she teamed up with rocker White.
It was her husband who first encouraged Lynn to sing professionally and helped her land a recording deal with Decca Records.
Her lyrics took on topics once missing from country music, including birth control. In “The Pill,” Lynn wrote about a world where she was trapped at home raising children.
“The feelin’ good comes easy now/Since I’ve got the pill,” she sang.
She settled in the home where she died outside of Nashville in the 1990s, building a ranch complete with a replica of her childhood home and a popular museum that featured the elaborate rhinestone dresses she often wore on stage.
Lynn’s explanation for her trailblazing lyrics was that she was simply giving a voice to the experiences of many rural women while calling on her own life.
Lynn continued writing in her 80s, landing a 2014 multi-album deal in 2014 with Legacy Records In 2017, she suffered a stroke that forced her to postpone her shows.