Loretta Lynn is a true original.
It’s no secret she’s had a lot to say about the music coming out of Nashville these days.
In an interview just a couple years ago, she said she thought country music was “dead.”
But as it turns out, she’s had some strong opinions on the genre for quite some time now.
She was interviewed by Charlie Rose in 1997 to promote her gospel album, All Time Gospel Favorites, where they got into some of her personal life because of the fact that her husband and manager, Doolittle, had passed away just a year prior.
They talked a little bit about the relationship between Loretta and “Doo,” as she referred to him, and she joked that there was a line about him in just about every song she wrote.
He had a reputation for cheating, and at times they had a pretty tumultuous relationship. She has also spoken about that publicly and extensively over the years.
When Rose prodded her about her songwriting style and how she wrote music for “strong women” (mainly due to everything she went through with her husband), she aptly and humorously noted:
“This is what’s wrong with the music business today, they are signin’ ‘do-la-la-la’, you know? Who’s gonna remember that stuff? Not me. Are you?
You’re gonna remember ‘Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin On Your Mind).’”
That song was her very first number one hit and written about her husband coming home after late nights out drinking.
Loretta has more than 20 number one singles under her belt and is one of the most recognizable and influential artists to ever be in country music, so I think she’s more than qualified to give her two cents on the matter.
She goes on to say she refused to water down her writing for any person or record label,
“This is what I said: if they want me to write, they’re gonna have to take it like I write, because that’s the way I write.”
I love it. Straight to the point and she makes no bones about it. And that’s what made her a star. She’s so real and down to earth, and she never compromised who she was to fit any sort of standard or expectation.
The best part of the interview comes when Rose asks her what has happened to country music and why it took the direction that it did.
Remember, this was almost 25 years ago and I swear if you heard it in the context of today’s radio situation you wouldn’t think twice:
“You know, I don’t know. I’m gettin’ so tired of seeing videos, cowboy hats and pick-up trucks. I’ve been in enough of them pick-up trucks.”
You and me both, Loretta. Except we’re almost 25 years out from this interview…. it’s just comical, really:
“I went into Nashville myself lookin’ like Annie Oakley, so I don’t know why they’re just bringing it back today. They think it’s something new.
And I went into Nashville with a hat, boots, fringe skirt, the whole deal. So it ain’t nothin’ new.”
She really was (and still is) ahead of her time.
And although it seems like her opinions on country music, mainly country radio, haven’t changed, at least we still have her here to keep it real and and call out the people who need it most.
You can watch the entire interview here:
And of course, her singing her hit “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin'” featuring Bill Monroe on the mandolin:
Loretta Lynn Becomes First Woman To Win CMA Entertainer of the Year
The coal miner’s daughter is an absolute legend.
Loretta made an entire career out of saying what no one else would in terms of what it’s really like to be a woman and the real life issues that come with it. She had plenty of songs banned from mainstream country radio back in the day because of that, including some of her most recognizable songs, like “The Pill” and “Rated X”.
Who knew that people want to hear real, honest songs that speak to their lives and experiences?
Clearly, it was something Loretta understood better than just about anybody, and thankfully, she was never afraid to express that regardless of what any manager, radio station, or label had to say to the contrary.
Because of all of these things and a whole lot more, she became the very first female artist to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year award at the 1972 CMA Awards, beating out other nominees that year in Merle Haggard, Freddie Hart, Charley Pride and Jerry Reed.
The huge win came on the heels of her 18th studio album, Here I Am Again, and she already had a whopping 25 Top 10 singles on the country charts at the time, including her signature song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.
She would go on to release an album titled Entertainer of the Year in honor of her win the very next year in 1973, with the aforementioned song “Rated X” on the tracklist.
And, her speech is pretty funny, too, where she acknowledges how happy she is to have won the award, but also mentions the fact that she was sad her husband, Doolittle, couldn’t be there because he was… hunting:
“I’d like to say that I’ve won a lot of awards and this is one that I have been nominated for, but I never did get. This, I think, is the only one that I haven’t gotten.
I’m real happy, but the only thing I’m kind of sad about is my husband is going hunting. He couldn’t make it back in to share my happiness with me. Thank you.”
Though she never won the award again, she was nominated in the category every year from 1971 to 1975. It was a huge moment for women in country music, and I can’t think of a better or more deserving person than Loretta to accomplish such a monumental goal.
This video says the speech is from 1974, but is, in fact, her acceptance speech from 1972 when she won Entertainer of the Year for the very first time: