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Loretta Lynn is a singer-songwriter known for "Coal Miner's Daughter," among many other country songs. A film about her by the same name was a critical hit.
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Another classic Lynn tune was "Fist City," a lyrical tell-off from one woman to another over her man.
Lynn shared her own personal experiences growing up in "Coal Miner's Daughter," which became a No. 1 country hit in 1970. The song told the story of her childhood, growing up poor but happy. Teaming up with Conway Twitty,
Lynn won her first Grammy Award in 1971 for their duet "After the Fire Is Gone." This song was only one of many successful duets that the pair made; other hits included "Lead Me On" and "Feelin's." These collaborations explored romantic relationships—often adulterous ones. They won the Vocal Duo of the Year award from the Country Music Association for four consecutive years, from 1972 to 1975, for their songs.
On her own, Lynn continued to score hits and even stirred up a bit of controversy. She wrote about the changing times for female sexuality with 1975's "The Pill," which some radio stations refused to play. The following year, Lynn published her first autobiography, Coal Miner's Daughter. The book became a best seller, publicly revealing some of the ups and downs in her professional and personal life, especially her stormy relationship with her husband. In 1980, the film version of the book was released, starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta and Tommy Lee Jones as her husband.
Lynn's domination of the country charts began to ebb in the 1980s, as country music moved more toward mainstream pop and away from Lynn's more traditional sound. Still her albums remained popular, and she enjoyed some success as a spokeswoman for a shortening company. In 1982, she had her most notable hit of the decade with "I Lie."
Around this time, Lynn had to grapple with a personal tragedy. Her 34-year-old son, Jack Benny Lynn, drowned after trying to wade across a river on horseback in July 1984. She herself was hospitalized briefly for exhaustion before learning of her son's death.
Lynn was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In the 1990s, Lynn scaled down her work to care for her husband, who was suffering from heart trouble and diabetes. She did, however, make time to work with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette on the 1993 album Honky Tonk Angels. In 1995, she starred in a limited-run television series, Loretta Lynn & Friends, and played a handful of tour dates. Lynn's husband died in 1996.
In 2000, Lynn released her next studio album, Still Country. While it earned strong reviews, the album did not match her earlier successes in terms of sales. Lynn explored other opportunities around this time, penning the 2002 memoir Still Woman Enough. She also struck up an unlikely friendship with Jack White of the alternative rock band the White Stripes. In 2003, Lynn played with the White Stripes in concert, and White ended up producing Lynn's next album, Van Lear Rose (2004).
A commercial and critical smash hit, Van Lear Rose injected new life into Lynn's career. "Jack was a kindred spirit," Lynn explained to Vanity Fair magazine.
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