On May 5, 2017, country music icon Loretta Lynn suffered a stroke and was quickly taken to a Nashville hospital near her Tennessee home. Our thoughts are with her, her family, and her friends as she recovers from the scary medical situation.
For now, she is understandably postponing her future appearances while she focuses on her health, so we decided to take a look back at her impressive life and career while we root for Loretta to make a full recovery.
After decades in the country music industry, the songstress has broken countless barriers and helped pave the way for more female singers to make names for themselves in the male-dominated genre.
Loretta has never shied away from discussing her tough early life and tumultuous relationship with her late husband — in fact, she often used both of those as inspiration for her hit songs.
That said, there is still so many amazing facts about Loretta Lynn’s past that most folks might have never thought about.
1. Her Music Career Started With A $17 Guitar
Loretta’s husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, bought the budget-friendly Gibson guitar at Sears & Roebuck for his wife a few years (and a couple of kids) into their marriage and Loretta quickly began writing her own songs.
2. She Became A Grandmother In Her 30s
Since she got such an early start on her own kids, having four before she was even 20 years old, it’s not too surprising that she became a grandma at the age of 34, when her oldest daughter gave birth to her first child at 18 years old.
Loretta’s youngest daughters, twins, were only 2 years old when they became aunts.
3. She’s Not The Only Musician In Her Family
Her sisters Peggy Sue and Crystal Gayle, shown above with Loretta and their sister Betty, are professional country singers who have released their own hit tunes over the years.
4. She Was Close Friends With Patsy Cline
Patsy reached out to Loretta to help guide her through the still-not-so-female-friendly country music world early in her career. Unfortunately, the friendship was short-lived due to Patsy’s sudden death in 1963.
Loretta admitted it was an especially difficult loss to process, telling Entertainment Weekly: “When Patsy died, my God, not only did I lose my best girlfriend, but I lost a great person that was taking care of me. I thought, Now somebody will whip me for sure.”
5. Her Childhood Home Had Creative Decoration
While growing up in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, the Webb family had a hard time keeping their small cabin warm in the winter. They couldn’t even afford wallpaper to help add insulation to the walls for their eight children. But Loretta’s mom found a way to fight the cold: She glued pages of a Sears catalogue to the walls instead.
6. She And Her Husband Had A Whirlwind Romance
After just a month of courtship, Loretta said “I do” to Doolittle. The pair had six children together and remained married until Doolittle’s death in 1996.
7. Her Father Passed Away Before She Found Success
The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” lost her father, Melvin Theodore “Ted” Webb, just one year before the release of her first single, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” in 1960.
Loretta had her first major hit two years later with the aptly titled “Success.”
8. She Was Named After Another Famous Loretta
The country singer’s mom was a fan of Loretta Young, an Academy Award-winning actress with a long career spanning the 1920s to the early ’50s, and named Loretta after the movie star.
9. Her Home Has Its Own Zip Code
In stark contrast to her humble upbringing, Loretta’s Tennessee ranch, known as Hurricane Mills, is so vast it has its own zip code and post office. It also boasts its own concert venue and hosts several events throughout the year — you can even book your wedding there!
10. Radio Stations Often Refused To Play Her Songs
Loretta notoriously tackled sensitive issues, like birth control with her song “The Pill” on her 1975 album Back to the Country, which sometimes meant DJs would cut her airtime.
Her massive success despite that, however, just further proves the legendary lady’s impressive talent.
11. She’s A Best-Selling Author
Her autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, became a quick hit after it was published in 1976, spilling details about her upbringing and her relationship with her husband.
It was adapted into a film starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta, and the two became good friends. Loretta has even invited Sissy to perform on stage with her over the years.
12. She’s The Only Woman Who’s Been Named Artist Of The Decade
The Academy of Country Music began awarding performers with the honor in 1969 when they gave the award to Marty Robbins for his chart-topping success throughout the 1960s.
Loretta was given the award in 1979 for her work throughout the decade and she remains the only woman with the title to this day.
Be sure to abrozzi all these amazing facts about the legendary country queen with your friends!