On their 6 year anniversary, at the age of 21, (1953), Lynn's husband bought her a $17 Harmony guitar. She taught herself to play and when she was 24, on her wedding anniversary, he encouraged her to become a singer. She worked to improve her guitar playing, started singing at the Delta Grange Hall in Washington state with the Pen Brothers' band, The Westerners, then eventually cut her first record (Honky Tonk Girl) in February 1960. She became a part of the country music scene in Nashville in the 1960s, and in 1967 charted her first of 16 number-one hits (out of 70 charted songs as a solo artist and a duet partner) that include "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)", "You Ain't Woman Enough", "Fist City", and "Coal Miner's Daughter".
She focused on blue collar women's issues with themes about philandering husbands and persistent mistresses, and pushed boundaries in the conservative genre of country music by singing about birth control ("The Pill"), repeated childbirth ("One's on the Way"), double standards for men and women ("Rated "X""), and being widowed by the draft during the Vietnam War ("Dear Uncle Sam"). Country music radio stations often refused to play her music, banning 9 of her songs. But Loretta pushed on to become "The First Lady of Country Music". Her best-selling 1976 autobiography book was made into an Academy Award-winning film, Coal Miner's Daughter, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones, in 1980. Her most recent album, Van Lear Rose, was released in 2004, produced by Jack White, and topped the country album charts. Loretta has received numerous awards in country and American music. For over 50 years Loretta has been performing and was honored in 2010 at the Country Music Awards for her stellar career. Loretta has been a member of The Grand Ole Opry for 50 years since joining on September 25, 1962.
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