Born as Loretta Webb on 14 April 1932 in a small shack in the poor coal-mining mountains of Kentucky, she has risen to become a classic country singer whose life story and hit song “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was adapted into a critically acclaimed movie of the 80s. As a child, she sang in church and local concerts. At the tender age of 13, she tied the knot with Oliver Lynn in a union that would last for over 50 years. The couple moved to Custer Washington following their marriage. After a decade of raising six children, Loretta Lynn started singing professionally backed up by a band led by Jay Lee Webb, her brother.
1960 saw Loretta Lynn make her first big hit with “Honky Tonk Girl” followed by a string of chart busters which made her the richest and most popular woman in country music ten years later. Her success is anchored largely on the defiance and strong appeal of her songs to the working class such as: “Before I’m Over You,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
In 1971, Loretta Lynn teamed up with Conway Twitty to become one of the most successful country duo in music history with five consecutive number one hit songs within a period of four years. From 1972 to 1975, the Country Music Association named the two singers as the Vocal Duo of the Year. Moreover, Lynn and Twitty had seven Top Ten Hits during the five-year period 1976 to 1981.
Over the course of her long singing career, Loretta Lynn has written 160 songs and released an impressive 70 albums, ten of which peaked at number one in the country charts. Her many awards include 4 Grammys, 7 American Music awards, 10 Academy of Music awards and 8 Broadcast Music Incorporated awards. In 1972, the Country Music Association named her “Entertainer of the Year” while the Academy of Country Music named her “Artist of the Decade” of the 1970s. In 1988, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and in the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame eleven years later. In 2003, she became a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. For her contribution to country music, the Berklee College of Music awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Music Degree. A year later, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City and in 2010—her 50th year in country music, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
While Loretta Lynn claims to be politically non-partisan because her mother was a Democrat while her father was Republican, she had visited the White House six times since 1976 and had carried on a lifetime friendship and support with President Jimmy Carter. She is also known to have friendly relations with the two Presidents Bush.