Jack White, Dolly Parton lead tributes to Loretta Lynn, dead at 90

Garth Brooks, Margo Price and Reba McEntire were among others who paid tribute to the star, who was famous for hits such as 'You Ain't Woman Enough' and 'Honky Tonk Girl'

Jack White and Dolly Parton lead the many tributes to Loretta Lynn that have emerged following the legendary country singer’s death at the age of 90.

The star, who was famous for hits such as ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough’, ‘The Pill’, ‘Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)’ and ‘Honky Tonk Girl’, passed away this morning (October 4), according to a statement from her family.

“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” they wrote.

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Over the years she recorded 60 albums, with her most recent being last year’s ‘Still Woman Enough’, and topped the US country charts 16 times. She also sold more than 45million records worldwide.

She was nominated for 18 Grammy awards, of which she won three, including a lifetime achievement prize in 2010 and her most recent win in 2019. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

In 2004, Lynn teamed up with Jack White who produced her album ‘Van Lear Rose’, which went on to become her best-performing album in the US charts at the time, before she topped it with her highest-charting album ever, 2016’s ‘Full Circle’.

Loretta Lynn and Jack White in 2015
Loretta Lynn and Jack White in 2015. Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

“I said when I was first asked about her what I thought, and I said years ago that I thought she was the greatest female singer-songwriter of the 20th century. I still believe that,” White said in a video he posted to Instagram shortly after news of Lynn’s passing emerged.

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“She was such an incredible presence and such a brilliant genius in ways that I think only people who got to work with her might know about,” White continued. “What she did for feminism, women’s rights, in a time period and a genre of music that was the hardest to do it in is just outstanding, and will live on for a long time.”

White went on to say that he “learned so much” by working with Lynn on ‘Van Lear Rose’, and that during the sessions, there were multiple times he needed to “take a pause and step outside because she was just so brilliant”. He described her as a “mother figure” and a “very good friend”.

Dolly Parton, who collaborated with Lynn regularly over the years, was one of the first to pay tribute to the late country singer.

“So sorry to hear about my sister, friend Loretta,” she wrote. “We’ve been like sisters all the years we’ve been in Nashville and she was a wonderful human being, wonderful talent, had millions of fans and I’m one of them. I miss her dearly as we all will. May she rest in peace.”

Margo Price also paid her respects adding: “It’s safe to say I wouldn’t even be making country music today if it weren’t for Loretta Lynn. She showed me up what it looked like to be a musician and a mama. Her writing was as real as the day is long. This one hurts on another level. I’ll miss her forever.”

Garth Brooks, who inducted Lynn when she received her Kennedy Center Honor in 2003, and was her guest when she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Salute to Country Music in 2010, also reflected on her legacy and their friendship.

“She was the first female [artist] for me. I know her contemporaries and I know there were women that came before Loretta, but Loretta was the first Reba. She was the first Dolly. She was the first of the female stalwarts that you built a foundation on and she never gave that throne up,” Brooks told Billboard.

“For me, Loretta Lynn’s name is as powerful today as it ever was. The truth is what we believe it to be, but Loretta’s conviction in what she believed the truth to be was in her songs,” the singer-songwriter continued.

“How Loretta Lynn thought with ‘The Pill’ and songs like ‘Fist City’ and ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),’ those were universal thoughts. Everyone was thinking them at the time, they just needed somebody to have the balls to say it. And that somebody was Loretta Lynn. She never quit being her.”

After recounting anecdotes about his friendship with Lynn, Brooks concluded: “I can just tell you that there was a bond with that woman that I’m sure everyone that ever met her felt, that she made you feel like you were so special. I just loved her. And she had me convinced that she loved me right back.”

Reba McEntire also paid tribute to Lynn, sharing a photo of her with the country star on Instagram. “I always did and I always will love Loretta,” she wrote. “She was always so nice to me. I sure appreciate her paving the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers.”

Born Loretta Webb in a one-room rural Kentucky cabin in 1932, the star was one of eight siblings and the daughter of a coal miner which led to her signature song, 1970’s ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’.

Lynn married her husband Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn when she was 15, and they were together until his death in 1996. It was he who encouraged her to sing professionally and helped promote her early career.

They had six children together; the eldest, Betty Sue and Jack, died in 2013 and 1984 respectively. Lynn is survived by her other four children, Ernie, Cissie, and twins Peggy and Patsy.

Reviewing her most recent album, NME awarded it four stars and said that Lynn continues “to explore the themes she pioneered in the 1960s – those of women’s innate strength and capabilities.”

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