R.I.P. country icon Loretta Lynn

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Loretta Lynn

Legendary country artist Loretta Lynn has died, according to a report from The Associated Press. She was 90.

“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” Lynn’s family said in a statement, asking for privacy as they grieve. They also said a memorial will be announced later.

Born in Kentucky in 1932, Lynn taught herself how to play guitar in her twenties and began her music career after giving birth to four children. She released her first record, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” in 1960. And in the years that followed, she released 51 albums as well as a number of successful singles. Nearly a dozen of them, including “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Fist City,” and “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)”, went to number one.

Lynn often sang about topics that hadn’t been broached in the relatively conservative field of country music, including birth control (“The Pill”), double-standards in gender (“Rated X”), and the human toll of the Vietnam War, particularly as a result of the draft (“Dear Uncle Sam”). In 1976, she released her memoir, Coal Miner’s Daughter, which was made into a movie with Sissy Spacek in 1980.

Lynn made a comeback in 2004 with Van Lear Rose, which was produced by Jack White. And her influence extends well beyond country music, her songs having been covered by Paramore, Neko Case and The White Stripes. Her last album was 2021’s Still Woman Enough. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Photo by Les Leverett/Public Domain

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