Rest in peace to the Coal Miner’s Daughter.
The great Loretta Lynn passed away today at the age 90 years old.
A true legend and pioneer of the country music genre, she a Country Music Hall of Famer, Grammy winner, and winner of just about every music award imaginable. She released dozens of hit songs, and some of the most important albums in country music history, however, perhaps her largest impact on the country music world was from her willingness to push the boundaries of songwriting and storytelling in country music.
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: