Loretta Lynn certainly belongs to an exclusive list of singers who are considered legendary for the sheer longevity and quality of her artistic work. She is an American country singer and songwriter who has received numerous awards for her role in the development of her chosen musical genre. Her albums have sold millions of copies worldwide. Her greatest hits include One’s on the Way, Coal Miner’s Daughter, and others. Her musical career has spanned an impressive 60 years.
Who is Loretta Lynn?
She was born on April 14, 1932, in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, and is the second of eight children of her parents Clara Marie and Melvin Theodore Webb, who worked both as miners and subsistence farmers. Lynn’s birth name was Loretta Webb.
A few months before her 16th birthday, the teenager Loretta married a certain Oliver Lynn against all odds. The happy and difficult times she experienced in her marriage were an incentive for some of her later work. While living in Custer, Washington, where she was heavily involved in odd jobs that her husband Oliver did, Loretta began to practice with the guitar that her husband had given her.
She soon began playing at local venues with her husband’s support and made waves in the country music scene when she released her first single, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” in 1960. After signing a contract with Zero Records, she still took it upon herself to promote the song, and it paid off when it was broadcast on the airways. When she moved to Nashville in 1960, she met the Wilburn Brothers, Teddy and Doyle Wilburn. In October of the same year, she made an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, which was a stepping stone to her signing with Decca Records.
Her first song to reach the top 10 of the country music charts was “Success”, which showed that Lynn’s talent as an artist was evident, and in 1963 she released her first self-recorded album, Loretta Lynn Sings. The album reached number 2 in the charts. Her abilities as a singer were put to the test when she tried to cover a range of topics in her songs, from political issues to contemporary challenges.
Between 1966 and 1968, Lynn released hit songs and classics that reached the top of the charts. Don’t Come a Drinkin’ (with Lovin’ on Your Mind) was released in 1967 and was a #1 hit. You Ain’t Woman Enough (1966) was #2 and Fist City (1968) was a classic. During this time she was also named Singer of the Year by the Country Music Association. Her probably best title and bestseller, Coal Miner’s Daughter, was released in 1970 and quickly became a hit, reaching number 1 in the charts.
Loretta is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award she received from President Barack Obama on August 8, 2013.
Loretta Lynn has been a singer for 60 years and has earned a healthy salary. She has an estimated net worth between 60 and 65 million dollars.
Children, Husband, and Family
Despite all the successes Lynn achieved in life, it was sad that her father could not witness it when he died of black lung disease in 1959. However, Loretta is not the only one among her siblings who became famous. Her younger sister Brenda Gail Webb performed professionally as Crystal Gayle. The country singer Patty Loveless is also her cousin.
Lynn was married before she was sixteen and had her first four children when she turned 20. Her children were Betty Sue Lynn (born 1948), Jack Benny Lynn (born 1949), Clara Marie Lynn (1952), and Ernest Ray Lynn (born 1954). Ten years after Ernest was born, Lynn gave birth to twin girls Peggy Jean and Patsy Eileen Lynn. They were named after her sister Lynns and her close friend. Unfortunately, Lynn survived two of her children. She lost her second child and her eldest son, Jack Benny, on the family ranch on July 22, 1984, when he tried to cross the Duck River. He was 34 years old at the time of his death. Their oldest child, Betty Sue, also died of emphysema in 2013 at the age of 64.
Lynn was married to Oliver Lynn for nearly 50 years, and as much as the marriage had great times, it was not perfect. She revealed that he had cheated on her frequently, was an alcoholic, but he still supported her career. She described her marriage as “one of the most difficult love stories”.