The First Lady of Country Music
Loretta Lynn is one of the most influential and groundbreaking artists in country music history. Born Loretta Webb in 1932 in rural Kentucky, Lynn had a difficult upbringing as the second of eight children in a coal mining family. She married at 15 and had four children by age 19. To support her family, she taught herself to play guitar and starting singing at local venues with her husband Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn.
In 1960, Lynn caught her big break when she was discovered by Norm Burley and signed to Zero Records. Her first single “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” was a hit and launched her music career. Over the next decade, Lynn rose to fame with her candid, feminist lyrics that gave voice to rural working-class women. Hits like “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin'” and “The Pill” broke barriers in country music by tackling taboo topics like alcoholism, infidelity, and birth control.
Lynn’s honest, personal songwriting struck a chord and she became one of the genre’s most popular acts. She earned the nickname “The First Lady of Country Music” and released hit after hit, including massive crossover successes like “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” and “The Pill.” With her groundbreaking lyrics and status as one of country’s first female superstars, Lynn paved the way for generations of women in country music.
Over her decades-long career, Lynn has won virtually every award in country music. She’s been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and more. Some highlights from her long list of accolades include 3 Grammys, 8 Country Music Association Awards, 10 Academy of Country Music Awards, and charting 24 No. 1 hits.
At 90 years old, Lynn is still actively writing and recording music. She just released her 50th studio album, Still Woman Enough, in 2021. Lynn’s incredible life and pioneering contributions continue to inspire artists today. She remains a true force in country music and a revered legend across all genres of American music.