The icon, the legend, one of the queens of country music, Loretta Lynn was one of the most influential artists of the 1960s and '70s. It was a shock to my coworkers how affected I was by the news of her passing, but Loretta is one of my favorite artists of all time. First Coolio, then Loretta; needless to say, it’s been a tough few weeks for music.
Loretta was known to be a singer and writer for women, and she is among some of the best country artists like Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Kitty Wells. Side note, I’ve been told I am related to Kitty Wells.
In one of Loretta’s early hits “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)," many could see it as not the most empowering song for women as it points out the lack of "woman" in somebody, but I see it as empowering for women in relationships. She sings, “He took a second look at you, but he’s in love with me.”
That shows confidence in herself and her husband. Loretta isn’t threatened by other strong women because she knows that she has it all. This song also struck a chord with others as Loretta became the first female country recording artist to write a number-one hit.
“Coal Miner’s Daughter” is another recognizable hit as it peaked at number one in 1970 on the Billboard Country Chart. My grandfather owned this record and my cousin would play it when we went to his house, and we’d sing along to this oldie growing up. That was actually my first introduction to the star.
In college, I took a music history course with a bunch of other young millennials and older Gen-Z kids, and we got to the point in the semester where we were discussing the modern age of music. Many may be surprised by this, but Loretta Lynn is an artist of the modern age despite being 90 years old.
Well, my music professor wanted to have a little fun, and he played a Loretta song, I can’t remember which one, and he wanted us to guess who was singing. I raised my hand, the only hand raised in the room, and confidently said, “That would be Loretta Lynn.”
The pride across this professor’s face was priceless that someone recognized this queen. During that class, the professor introduced me to a controversial Loretta song known as “The Pill.” This song is notable because it solidified Loretta as a bona fide genius. The song is clearly about birth control, which was a very sensitive subject in the ‘70s when it was recorded.
But, in classic Loretta fashion, as long as it related to women, she felt no topic was off limits. Despite having six children of her own, she was a big supporter of the contraceptive. “This old maternity dress I’ve got is goin’ in the garbage. The clothes I’m wearin’ from now on won’t take up so much yardage.”
Only she can find a rhyme for yardage. Loretta Lynn is a true legend, and for those who aren’t aware of her intelligence, you need to listen to her music. I normally wouldn’t write a column about the death of a celebrity, but she deserves the praise.
Standard reporter Taylor Moore can be reached at (931) 473-2191.