Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn will perhaps always be the queen of country music, although she was not the pioneer that Mother Maybelle Carter was, or may not have had the crossover appeal of Dolly Parton or Faith Hill.

The fact remains, along with only the late Patsy Cline and late Tammy Wynette, Lynn was among the very first female country superstars to write and sing the music many have called the fabric of real American culture. Her rags to riches story, immortalized in the best selling autobiography, Coal Miner's Daughter, and an Academy Award winning movie of the same name (starring Cissy Spacek) makes her music even more special and accessible to the modern history of America.

Two years after her popular film biography, she was still very much enjoying a resurgence in popularity with both country and non-country audiences. She had been given two national TV specials after the film, and although she had decided to scale back on her touring schedule, she was still very much a major concert draw on the country circuit.

However, tides would soon change for Lynn as her popularity would begin to decline in the mid-1980s, with emergence of the "young" country sound that would effectively blend country and pop music. In 1984, her eldest son, Jack, perished while trying to cross the Duck River on horseback. Shortly thereafter, Lynn dramatically limited her recording and live appearances.

In 2002, after the death of her husband, Mooney, (the two were married nearly 50 years), she wrote a follow-up to Coal Miner's Daughter, entitled Still Woman Enough. She received a Grammy and made a musical comeback in 2004 with the album Van Lear Rose, which was produced by and featured the guitar and vocals of Jack White.

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