29 April 2011

TGIF AMERICAN Oldies: Loretta Lynn - 1967

"If you need that kind of love- you don't need none of mine"

Loretta Lynn is a world-famous American country music singer-songwriter/author who was -as the script goes- indeed born a coal miner's daughter in 1935 just outside the small mountain town of Paintsville, Kentucky.

But that childhood was brief indeed, as the then-Loretta Webb was married off at just thirteen years of age, becoming a mother shortly thereafter. She proceeded to have four children by her nineteenth birthday, living in Washington state with husband Oliver V. Lynn.

The marriage certainly had it's ups and downs, as he was a womanizer and heavy drinker, while Appalachian-bred Loretta was more than a little headstrong. But she remained married to him until his death in 1996, and their experiences together became a primary inspiration for the music.

Starting late for a musician, at 24 years old Lynn's husband casually bought her a guitar. Blessed with to-that-point hidden talent, she took to it immediately, teaching herself to play and proceeding to cut her first record the next year.

Loretta quickly became a part of the country music scene in Nashville in the Sixties, and by 1967 had her first mega-hit with "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)". She also became known for classic duets with Country legend Conway Twitty, and counting those charted 70 singles over the span of an incredible career.

Lynn was from the start a talented songwriter -a true natural, she sometimes collaborated with her sister Peggy Sue. The lyrics largely focused on working-class women's issues, with themes of wandering and/or whiskey-breathed husbands. She often pushed boundaries in the conservative genre of country music by singing about birth control, repeated childbirth, double standards for men and women, and even Vietnam war widows... to the point of being banned by some stations.

Her best-selling 1976 autobiography was of course made into the Academy Award winning film Coal Miner's Daughter starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones in 1980.

Lynn's most recent album Van Lear Rose (2004) went right to #1 on the Country album charts, and not only do her own twin daughters form country act The Lynns, Loretta's 19-years-younger sister Crystal Gayle -inspired by the early career of her sibling- also became a pop/country star in her own right, best known for the pop hit "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue".

Today in 2011 -at an all-American 76 years old- country music icon Loretta Lynn continues to tour. Here's what you call American music, my friends: the very first of what was to be sixteen #1 Country hits...

LorettaLynn.com   Wikipedia   YouTube

Previous RR Oldies features -here-