Music icon Loretta Lynn's 50th studio album, "Still Woman Enough," debuted on March 12, 2021. In honor of the country legend's new music, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at her life and career in photos. Keep reading for more…
Loretta Lynn was born on April 14, 1932, in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, to Clary and Tedd Webb. Loretta, who was named after famed actress Loretta Young, had seven other siblings. She's seen here with her family in 1955.
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Loretta Lynn married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, who was known as "Dolittle," in January 1948 when she was just 15. The couple, pictured here in 1955, wed after just a month of knowing each other. When she was seven months pregnant with their first child, Loretta and Dolittle moved to Custer, Washington. Their tumultuous marriage would go on to influence her songwriting.
In 1960, Loretta Lynn released her debut single, which she also wrote — "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl." She and her husband drove from radio station to radio station in an effort to self-promote the single. The track peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard country songs chart. This was only the beginning for Loretta, whose songs were seen as pushing the boundaries of country music due to their focus on themes like women's rights and infidelity.
Loretta Lynn — who formed her own band, the Trailblazers, with brother Jay Lee — performed at clubs throughout the 1950s. It didn't take long for Loretta, who joined the Grand Ole Opry in September 1962, to become the No. 1 female recording artist in all of country music — her 1962 single "Success" was her first massive hit. The Kentucky native, who made her first Opry appearance in 1960, is seen here at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville the same year she joined.
1967 marked the year in which Loretta Lynn hit No. 1 with "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)." The album went on to become one of the first by a female country music artist to sell an impressive 500,000 copies. Loretta is seen here with BBC journalists David Allen and Stephen West at the International Festival of Country and Western Music that same year.
In 1971, Loretta Lynn began her professional partnership with country singer-songwriter Conway Twitty (pictured). The pair had five consecutive No. 1 songs together: 1971's "After the Fire Is Gone" (which earned them a Grammy), 1971's "Lead Me On," 1973's "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," 1974's "As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone" and 1974's "Feelins."
Loretta Lynn is seen here with her twin daughters, Peggy and Patsy, who were born in 1964, in March 1972. 1972 was also a monumental year in her career — Loretta became the first woman to ever be recognized by the Country Music Association as entertainer of the year.
In 1973, Loretta Lynn — who's seen here performing on ABC's "Jack Paar Tonite" that same year — had another track, "Rated X," peak at No. 1. The song stands out in her discography as one of the most controversial, as it tackles the bias against women who get divorced.
Loretta Lynn's husband, Dolittle, joined her at the 1975 Country and Western Music Awards. After nearly 50 years of marriage — and six children together — he passed away in 1996 at 69.
In 1980, Loretta Lynn's 1976 autobiography, "Coal Miner's Daughter," was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film of the same name. Loretta was portrayed by Sissy Spacek (pictured with her on stage that same year), who went on to win the Oscar for best actress!
A family affair! Loretta Lynn posed with singer sister Crystal Gayle and their mother, Clara Butcher, at the Country Music Awards in 1980.
The '80s marked a pivotal decade in Loretta Lynn's career. In 1983, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, followed by an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. Loretta is seen here on stage during Bob Hope's 80th birthday celebration in 1983.
After stepping out of the spotlight for some time, Loretta Lynn returned in 1993 with the release of the album "Honky Tonk Angels," which she recorded with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette (pictured here together back in 1980). The album was a major success — in addition to peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard country chart, "Honky Tonk Angels" sold upwards of 800,000 copies and the track "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" earned both Grammy and Country Music Association Award nominations.
Loretta Lynn guest starred on an episode of "Roseanne," which aired in January 1993, alongside Roseanne Barr.
Iconic! In 1995, Loretta Lynn was honored with the Pioneer Award at the 30th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
In 2000, Loretta Lynn released her first solo album in 12 years, "Still Country," which included the track "I Can't Hear the Music," a song she dedicated to her late husband, who'd died four years earlier. She's seen here performing that same year.
In 2002, Loretta Lynn — seen here at a book signing in New York City that same year — published her second autobiography, "Still Woman Enough," which was followed by another release two years later. In 2004, she released her first cookbook, "You're Cookin' It Country." Eight years later, in 2012, Loretta released a third autobiography, "Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics."
A reason to celebrate! In 2003, Loretta Lynn was lauded at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.
2004 was a significant year in Loretta Lynn's acclaimed career in country music. That year, she released her 42nd studio album, "Van Lear Rose," which was produced by the White Stripes' Jack White (who also played guitar and sang backup on some tracks). The album, which was praised by Rolling Stone as the second best of that year, earned a 2005 Grammy Award for best country album.
In 2010, Loretta Lynn was honored with a Grammy lifetime achievement award after five decades in music. That evening, her twin daughters, Peggy and Patsy, accepted the award on their mother's behalf.
Among Loretta Lynn's many siblings are two other famous singers — Peggy Sue and Crystal Gayle. The sisters posed with Loretta at the Grammy Salute to Country Music event honoring Loretta in Nashville in 2010.
Loretta Lynn is seen here performing during the 2011 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
In 2013, Loretta Lynn was honored by President Barack Obama with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. She's seen here at the White House receiving the prestigious award.
In 2016, Loretta Lynn — seen here with Bravo host Andy Cohen while visiting his show, "Watch What Happens Live," to promote her work that year — released her 43rd studio album, "Full Circle," which included musical features by Elvis Costello and Willie Nelson. It was Loretta's 40th album to rank within the top 10 on Billboard's bestselling country list.
A few weeks after this photo was taken during a performance at the Louisville Palace in March 2017, Loretta Lynn suffered a stroke. More health problems followed, including a 2018 fall in which she broke her hip.
As Loretta Lynn's health recovered, she kept earning awards. She's seen here at the Loretta Lynn Ranch with her Cracker Barrel Country Legend Award in September 2019.
In 2020, a statue of Loretta Lynn was unveiled at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. The life-sized artwork was in good company, joining statues of fellow music icons Little Jimmy Dickens and Bill Monroe.
In January 2021 — two months before releasing her 50th studio album, "Still Woman Enough," which shares its title with her 2002 memoir — an 88-year-old Loretta Lynn took to Instagram to share this photo of herself after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. "Well, I bundled up and Peggy Jean and I rolled out of Hurricane Mills so I could get this vaccine. I'm sure glad to get it and am sure ready to put Covid in the rear view mirror! And I enjoyed the mom daughter time, too!" she captioned the pic.