Remember When Loretta Lynn Released ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter?’

Loretta Lynn; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music
Loretta Lynn; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music
Loretta Lynn; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music

On this day in 1970, Loretta Lynn released her iconic, career-blazing song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Written and recorded by Lynn in 1969, the song went on to become a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Country chart after it was released the following year. The track, which later became the title of the record, tells the story of her father who worked as a coal miner in rural Kentucky during the Great Depression. Lynn experienced the Great Depression herself as a child, given that she was born in 1932.

Reflecting on her time writing the hit track in her 1976 autobiography, Lynn states that she had “to match up words like ‘holler’ and ‘daughter’ and ‘water.’ But after it was done, the rhymes weren’t so important.” The song was originally written in bluegrass style, as that was what the country legend had grown up listening to.

Raised in poverty in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, Lynn recalled how hard her mother worked cooking and cleaning – remembering how her fingers would bleed from the labor. She also recalls her mother reading her the Bible by a coal-oil light. Lynn faced more hardships than she had even shared with the public. 

According to an article written in American SongwriterLynn stated decades later that “the song doesn’t tell half of it,” and that if she “told the whole story nobody would believe it now anyway.”

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” was recorded on October 1, 1969, at Bradley’s Barn in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Owen Bradley was the producer of the song.

In 1980, the song was made into a biographical musical film. Coal Miner’s Daughter follows Lynn from her adolescent years through her rise to fame. the film was base on Lynn’s biography and stars Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn. Other notable names that appear in the film include Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D’Angelo and Levon Helm. Country music legends Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl also appear, making cameos as themselves.

Having received countless awards and praise over the decades, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” remains one of country music’s most legendary songs. Over half a century later, the track is still known by newer generations and remains a classic.

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