Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Loretta Lynn

Ep. 50 - Loretta Lynn

From Coal Miner's Daughter to Honky Tonk Girl

* Click the orange play button below to begin listening now.

Scott and Paul talk with the living legend about why we'll never hear all the verses she wrote for "Coal Miner's Daughter;" what she told Jack White about songwriting that he didn't "get;" how thinking nobody would ever hear her songs shaped her writing style; what she really thinks about Willie Nelson; how she reacted when her songs stirred up controversy; and why she doesn't give career advice.

Multi-Grammy award winner Loretta Lynn is an American music legend. The Kentucky native married as a young teenager, moved to Washington State, and had four children by age 20. She poured her energies into life as a homemaker before teaching herself to play guitar and write songs. Her life experiences informed her writing style, which gave voice to the concerns of everyday working class women. She landed a record contract with a regional label and tirelessly promoted her first single, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” to radio stations across the country. The record climbed to #14 on the Billboard country chart, leading to a move to Nashville.

After appearing on the Grand Ole Opry and signing a songwriting deal with the Wilburn Brothers’ publishing company, she was recruited to Decca Records by legendary producer Owen Bradley. Loretta went on to place more than 75 singles on the Billboard country chart as either a solo artist or as a duet partner with Ernest Tubb or Conway Twitty. More than 50 of those singles hit the Top 10, including 15 #1 hits. Many of her classic songs were self-penned, including “Dear Uncle Sam,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind),” “Fist City,” “Your Squaw Is on the Warpath,” “Rated X,” “The Pill,” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which NPR named one of the “100 Most Significant Songs of the Century.”

She has received a combined 21 awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, including the ACM’s Artist of the Decade Award in 1979, the Pioneer Award in 1994, and the Crystal Milestone Award in 2014. She became the first female to win CMA Entertainer of the Year honors in 1972 and became the first female ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1975. She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983, the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008. She received Kennedy Center Honors in 2003, earned the prestigious BMI Icon award in 2004, took home a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010, and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. She has sold more than 45 million records worldwide, was the first woman in country music to receive a certified Gold album, and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 55 years.  


Songcraft's Loretta Lynn Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy some of Loretta's best known original songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.